The strongest hands to hold

Life has a funny habit of bringing both joy and tragedy when they are least expected.

The joyous moments are what we live each day to come across, but tragic ones have a way of showing up uninvited. It seems that the latter has been making too many unwelcome appearances in our area as of late.

The end of 2013 brought with it far too many tragedies in this area, especially in my hometown of Brookline. It has had to see the death of two teenagers, a beloved pillar of the fire community and a local mother of three. Losses such as these hit especially hard in a small town.

It is hard to see so much sadness befall my hometown, especially when I’m still so close to its borders. Many horrific events took place throughout the world last year, but the blows that hit home hit the hardest. I love the town I was raised in and want nothing more than to see it devoid of such heartbreak.

I have covered many stories in my short career that contain too much sadness for the small towns they took place in. Yet, it never fails that each tragedy is followed by an outpouring of support from friends, family and the local community. I have never seen anything to the dispute this observation and my hometown is no exception.

I have seen the hands of love and support that reach out not long after these stories developed. Friends and family taking on responsibilities, organizing memorials and making sure that those afflicted by such pain are taken care of. No task is too small for the hands that reach out when there is need. Individuals who don’t think twice about taking on the weight for others, no matter how heavy.

What makes a community strong is not how much money it has, but the wealth of kindhearted souls lying within. This strength is exposed whenever one of their own is wounded by one of life’s unfortunate turns. Their fall into despair is followed by a rise in hope from those around them.

Our communities show their true colors not in the good times, but in the face of adversity. We can all take comfort knowing that any tragedy that comes will be greeted with the support that surrounds us each day. I take pride in knowing that is the way we do things around here.

Life can bring joy. It can bring with it sorrow. No matter what, there will be hands to applaud each victory or to hold onto during a loss. These hands are the strongest of all.