crime scene tapeSome stories are so tragic, so unfathomably heartbreaking, I just don't know what to say. All I can really think to do is bury my head in my arms and cry. Unfortunately, I have to warn you: This is one of those stories.

This is the story of a 4-year-old girl in Washington who dialed 911 at 5 a.m. in the morning because her mommy was hurt (oh, but she wasn't just "hurt"). A 4-year-old girl who had the courage and presence of mind to watch someone fatally stab her mother, wait until that person was gone and then pick up the phone to call for help.

A 4-year-old girl who was truly a hero ... but her 18-year-old mom died anyway.

Laranda Konopaski was pronounced dead at Forks Community Hospital after being stabbed multiple times. The young mother's live-in boyfriend has been named as a suspect, but remains at large.

See what I mean? No sense can be made of a story like this. And there are far too many stories like this. Just the fact something this ugly could happen at all takes what little bit of hope or joy or belief in basic human kindness a person might have and destroys it. Not only that, it makes you feel like an idiot for having any hope to begin with. Like that soul-crushing Christmas Eve fire story, or the one about the little girl with the sick mom who was brutally murdered by a neighbor.

Why?

I know there's a got to be a better, more constructive way of processing this kind of news than locking yourself (and your children) in a dark closet where nothing bad can ever happen. The problem with that approach, of course, is that nothing good can ever happen either.

Part of me wonders, sometimes, why we tell these stories. Why we spread this kind of news. Would it be better to just let these nightmarish memories fade away in the hearts and minds of those immediately involved?

But then I realized: Anyone who goes through something like this, anyone who dies this way or watches a loved one die this way or suffers some similar fate deserves to be mourned by the world at large. That's the only thing we can really do, in the end, for people like Laranda Konopaski and her daughter.

How do you cope with tragic news stories like this one?

 

Image via Tex Texin/Flickr