By Katherine Gotthardt The turtle has been crushed by a mower, life leaving through cracks in its shattered shell, coagulated, looking like cranberries and minced meat, the poor thing bobbing an intact head trying to look behind itself, as if wondering what could have gone wrong. And I am devastated because I can neither put it out of its misery nor explain what happened. All I can do is tell the dogs to leave it alone, keep walking our well-worn trail. I chide myself for being so sensitive. It’s true – I am a sniffling geek. I tear up over a British soap opera, even after the fact: The orphan kitchen maid adopted by a father who’s lost his sons in the war. Love thwarted for a handsome man imprisoned for a murder he never committed. An aging butler, stoic in illness, demanding propriety though he might be dying. Still, I’m not so bad as my husband crying at movies (yes, even in theaters) whenever little girls lose their father or a puppy an owner. He comes home and shows me YouTube videos: a paraplegic Veteran singing opera, a blind woman in Russia making sand art, an autistic British vocalist belting out an American favorite, parents applauding while weeping from the sidelines. We watch and tear up together. When I was five, my father told me I had the gift of tears, said I should be grateful. He meant it in a religious sense, because I’d cried over a song about Jesus dying, betrayed by those who should have loved him, and something about Joseph, a hard-working carpenter, teaching his young one to saw. He left, and I never believed I had a gift. I now just know it as sadness, as empathy, ability to see strings that tie us to the universe, the connecting fiber of all that is, those things that make us delicate. Not one of us is separate, not one of us above another. And no one deserves such pain. The turtle, the child, the father – I want them put back together, want them all to heal. Starting with myself.