I recently had a conversation with a coworker who heard a doctor speak about the most difficult part of dealing with loss: ambiguity. The people who have family members on the missing Malaysian Airlines flight are living through one of the most horrific losses. They do not know whether or not their loved ones are still alive, out in the world somewhere, in need of help – or, if they have died. Captain Tom Bunn, an airline pilot who dedicates his life to finding ways to treat flight phobia, wrote on Psychology Today:
“Suddenly I realized that what is bothering so many people is that there is nothing, no explanation, no clues, no radio transmission, no sign of the plane’s crash site, nothing. There is just a complete void of connection. Even an explanation would be a sort of connection with the people who are lost. Since there is no scenario of how they met their end, it is as if they stopped existing in a more non-existent way than if we knew how it happened.”
This unknown is why so many people are so anxious about this strange tragedy. I am thinking about the passengers and their families and constantly wishing for a miraculous outcome – one that is less likely, but holding onto hope is the only thing we have right now.
Tickling the tummy with tenacious ferocity.
You thrive on the unknown,
the fears of those in your possession.
You are a common thief,
slowly stealing hope,
replacing the void with doubt.
You are a wicked one.