One of the downsides of living abroad is that when tragedy occurs back home with your loved ones, you're thousands of miles away. And even more frustrating than the sheer distance is the time difference, at least for those of us who live many lines of longitude away from "home".
This has been especially true these last few days, as I'm dealing with the loss of my brother in Louisiana. He disappeared on Saturday while fishing. I discovered this on Sunday, after he'd been missing for more than 24 hours, and after I'd gone to sleep.
This week I've been trying to find out what's going on, talking to people on the ground there, including the Morehouse Parish sheriff's office, yet I am limited by the time difference. I can find out nothing in the morning, when they're all getting well-deserved sleep, and I'm only awake for a portion of the daylight hours there.
From what I can tell, though, the search is being conducted with the utmost professionalism, by both the Morehouse Parish sheriff's office and the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries department. They are searching in the lake and on land. My brother knew the lake very well. He's lived on lakes, in both Minnesota and Louisiana, almost his entire adult life. Fishing was his life, and possibly, his death.
We may not know anything for several more days. Once again, I am struck by the outpouring of support via social media. Knock Facebook and Twitter if you must; but in times of tragedy it's a comfort to many.
Especially to those of us who are thousands of miles away from our grieving loved ones. I'd give anything right now to be able to hug my niece and nephew, to ease the stress my aunt must be feeling, to do more than just pick through our photos of happier times.
Another aspect of living so far away is the surreal aspect of such news. I didn't fully comprehend the reality of the situation until I saw a news clip on Monday from the local news, the same station I used to watch when I was growing up. This news item ran in the local newspaper.
That's all I know. For now.