Aylan Kurdi

I was scrolling through my FB feed this morning, as I normally do, and came across a friend's post that showed a hand-drawn image of a young boy among stars and an ocean, face down. Immediately I knew this had something to do with the drowning of the young Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi. For selfish reasons, I'd been avoiding the image, and I knew bits and pieces of the story, but it wasn't until this afternoon that I read the article in the New York Times, that I saw the picture and got the full story.

And I couldn't stop unseeing it.

Maybe it's because I'm exhausted, not having slept well this past week, but this picture has affected me, viscerally. My daughter has been getting up in the middle of the night, shaken awake by a cold she's getting over, coughing, calling out for me. In those moments, I'm frustrated, sometimes even angry, just wishing that she'd sleep so I could sleep.

That image of Aylan, the waves falling over his cheeks, in one instant, has made me profoundly grateful of my first world problems, of the fact that I have a bed to sleep in soundly and safely, and mostly of the fact that my daughter is alive and well and capable of calling out for her mama.

I am sick to my stomach, and the tears just keep pooling.

It's as if birthing my daughter split me open. There is a fissure that exists, a permanent fracture that reaches to the blackest darkest corners of my very existence and understanding of the world around me. Seeing that little boy, just a year older than my own daughter, face down, dead - there are no words. Literally none. No poetry, no language, no lyric can define what grips me and reaches far beyond the barbed borders of fear and terror.

It is impossible to remain present, every single second of every day - I am human and I forget, but tonight, should my daughter call out to me, I will try to remember how very lucky we are.

Image: Yante Ismail - UNHCR

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