Lest I forget how connected we all are in this world, nature saw fit to show me again.

As I left my sewing class I saw an article re-Tweeted by a friend about Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords being shot in the head at a ‘Congress on Your Corner.’

I didn’t head straight home. I had errands to run and phone calls to make. I called my mother and whined about my younger sister going through my stuff and taking over my childhood bedroom (yes, I no longer live there)(no I’m not ready to let go) (yes, I’m a wicked big baby) without talking to me about it.

When I finally came home, I sat down on my couch, opened up my computer and started writing. About five minutes in, I listened as my roommate received a phone call, got visibly upset and left the room.

Then it struck me like a ton of bricks. This shooting was in my roommates hometown. In his hometown, where his friends and family still live.

The numbers panned by on the television. 19 shot. 5 dead. Then, 6 dead. Congresswoman shot in head.

As he struggled to find where his friend, one of Giffords aids, was, I called hospitals and police stations. Nobody knew his name.

We went to work, and I struggled with the words to say. I have never been personally, closely touched by such senseless tragedy. I live through words. Sometimes I think I am more myself through text than I am in person. Yet, I couldn’t figure out what to say, because with the little loss I have experienced, I’ve hated the cliche sayings and gestures.

Luckily there’s an eHow for this. How to Express Sympathy When Someone Dies.

There it is, 5 down, the only one that makes sense to me.

5) Give the grieving person a journal to write down their feelings, emotions and memories of their loved one.

I honestly can’t imagine the grief that he and his friends and the friends and families of everyone that died yesterday are feeling. My heart goes out to those that are touched by this truly senseless tragedy. There are no words that we can say to make it better. I only hope that everyone has someone to talk to, write to, cry to, lean on. Because it’s not so much what we can say to them, but what they will need to say to us, to God, to the sun, to anyone or anything.

I watched on television as they interviewed a man in Tuscon. He said that this is a time where it is of the utmost importance to stand together and support each other. I think he’s exactly right, and if I’ve learned anything from being an American, it’s that standing together in face of tragedy is something we do very well.

If you haven’t dealt with tragedy yourself, or have a friend dealing with it for this first time, this eHow is a very simple way of understanding how to handle such situations. We cannot fix what has happened, but we can do our best to make their lives a little easier.

Read more: How to Express Sympathy When Someone Dies |

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