We can imagine it on a personal level when we see ourselves in the desperate faces hoping against all truth that a loved one survived. We grab our own loved ones tighter and try to look away, try not to see that it ends the same for us all, that the only difference is timing and how many of ourselves we leave behind to mourn.
I wasn't surprised to hear I wasn't the only one who was too numb to cry, too horrified by the magnitude of the triple disasters to let ourselves cry. I suspect it's because there were simply too many dead to mourn them properly, to give them the tears they deserved. So we held it all back out of respect for the ones that would be missed if we cried for just a few.
But when this photograph appeared on numerous websites, I lost it completely. I cried for everyone I had ever lost because of a small, helpless dog who couldn't understand what had happened to his world. I knew, his human knew, everyone around him knew. But all that poor little dog knew was that something horrible had happened and now his human was there to love and comfort him, that it was going to be alright. It was the simplicity of it that got to me as it did to everyone who saw this photograph.