Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Grieving with the people of Paris November 17, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Eiffel Tower

 

DURING MY WEEKLY SUNDAY evening phone call to my mother, who lives in southwestern Minnesota, we talked about the terrorist attacks in Paris. Mom shared how she could not stop watching media coverage of the tragedy.

And then she asked about my eldest, confused as to when my daughter and her husband had been in Paris. Six months ago, I assured her. Not recently, as she thought.

I, too, had been thinking about the May trip and how thankful I was that my loved ones were safely back home in Minnesota. But then I thought of the mom in California who will never welcome her daughter home. And I considered all the other families grieving the deaths of loved ones. How could I possibly relate or understand?

But I can. As human beings we can understand grief. I need only view the still photos of the tragedy in Paris and the aftermath to feel the grief. As I click through image after image after image, my grief rises and spills into tears. These photos tell a story and record history in a way that no words ever can. All too often the media is criticized for focusing on the negative. But it is their job to cover events, good and bad.

This sculptor of Alexander Faribault trading with a Dakota trading partner stands in Faribault's Heritage Park near the Straight River and site of Faribault's trading post. Faribault artist Ivan Whillock created this sculpture which sits atop a fountain known as the Bea Duncan Memorial Fountain.

This sculptor of Alexander Faribault trading with a Dakota trading partner stands in Faribault’s Heritage Park near the Straight River and site of Faribault’s trading post. Faribault artist Ivan Whillock created this sculpture which sits atop a fountain known as the Bea Duncan Memorial Fountain. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

I’ve never been to France. I have no personal connection to the country. But I live in a Minnesota community with a French name—Faribault—founded by the son of a French-Canadian fur trader. French names like LeMieux, Archambault, LaCanne, Chappius, De Grood, Decoux and La Roche are common here. Whether these families are still connected to folks in the Old Country, I don’t know.

But we are all connected—no matter where we live—by the commonality of humanity and by grief, the most basic of human emotions. Today, and in the days since the most recent attacks in Paris and elsewhere, we are a world grieving.

© Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

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25 Responses to “Grieving with the people of Paris”

  1. Yes, it’s terrible and whether or not we can relate personally, we can all grieve and pray.

  2. I agree that we are all connected. The attacks on Paris really brought back 9/11 for me. I try not to live my life in fear, however; it makes you think at times about going to the mall or the movies let alone traveling with shootings and attacks. We noticed the increase in security down here, especially being able to approach by water down here. Pretty soon our country will be experiencing a change in leadership. The world is a little restless lately. It pisses me off that a group has to reign terror throughout the world and they need to be stopped. Let’s grieve and let’s live our lives as well. Beautiful post today – thanks so much for sharing.

  3. treadlemusic Says:

    Absolutely…..the grief is almost paralyzing!! But, let me add to it the grief of a country who, 24 hours previous to the Paris event, suffered 2 suicide bombers’ destruction and the world has not rallied for them (link: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/16/world/middleeast/beirut-lebanon-attacks-paris.html?_r=0 ). Their plight has gone largely ignored by the “powers that be” which, I’m sure, adds much to the fading hope that peace will ever be in their future.

  4. Beth Ann Says:

    I think everyone feels a pull towards France now even if they have not visited in person. Events like these bring our world closer in a way and we feel that we are part of those that have been affected. It’s difficult to watch but we stay informed and do what we can in our corner of the world, right?

  5. Sweet Posy Dreams Says:

    An unbelievable tragedy. And in Beirut as well.

  6. Jackie Says:

    Sigh….. this world, Looking forward to the day when we will all find peace in the kingdom that is to come! But for now we will wait, hope and pray.

  7. Sue Ready Says:

    But we are all connected—no matter where we live—by the commonality of humanity and by grief, the most basic of human emotions. Today, and in the days since the most recent attacks in Paris and elsewhere, we are a world grieving.
    © Copyright 2015 Audrey Kletscher Helbling
    Your words say it all!

  8. Thread crazy Says:

    Great post Audrey. I too feel the overwhelming sorrow for Paris , Lebanon, Beirut, and other places. At this point our only hope is in our Lord as we pray and ask for peace. It does make one concerned about visiting the mall, etc, but we must not live our lives in fear, as if we do, these criminals have won. Our country I believe must stand ready, least these crazies target our land once again.

  9. YESssssssssssssssssssss,
    we are ALL connected.
    What happens ANYWHERE in our world, happens to each one of us. Love from Duluth. xxx


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