Tragedy. We hear of tragic stories from around the world, we've read tragedies in literature; we're not unfamiliar with the idea. But when it strikes close to home, to someone we know, to a coworker whose office is right down the hall, it becomes real.
I struggle knowing what to say and do in those situations. The person is going through the unthinkable; horrendous grief and pain. What can I offer? "I'm sorry", "we're praying", "is there anything we can do?" These all fall hopelessly short of making up for their loss.
Maybe it's not just your effort to comfort them that matters. One, "we're here for you" doesn't amount to much, but to be surrounded by people who truly care. To know that tens or even hundreds of people are mourning alongside you, perhaps that provides some solace. To know you are not alone.