Newton, Connecticut. Virginia Tech. PARIS. And now San Bernardino? Why do people have to endure such horrific traumas?
Do you understand the sorrow felt by the family of those innocent lives lost in San Bernardino, California? Do you know more fully the grief of those so unexpectedly bereaved by the violent attack on December 2, 2015? If you have recently experienced the death of a close loved one, you already cannot seem to swallow the lump in your throat or get over the stomach ache you’ve had for days and now your sadness seems completely engulfing. You consider the gravity of the horrific trauma suffered from such senseless violence. Your heart remains aware of your own incomprehensible loss while at the same time it breaks for what you know will be the most excruciatingly painful, emotional experience those affected by the shootings will ever endure. How can life seem so unfair and unbearable? How can you possibly recover from this? How can you even endure it?
Consider these ideas to feel better:
- Allow yourself to acknowledge any thoughts or feelings you may have about your loss or a recent trauma such as San Bernardino. Consider how your loss may be different or similar to the national or international tragedy. Refrain from judging yourself or critiquing whether something is right or wrong, good or bad. Just think and feel.
- Consider that engaging in number 1 above will only help you move forward in your grief process. As your brain continues to process your own personal loss, you may facilitate further progress by being open to allowing your thoughts and feelings free flow.
- Think about limiting purposeful exposure to media about these tragedies and only checking in for updates once or twice a day. Most likely you’re well aware of enough details and will not miss much if you restrict your news updates. The grief of your own loss and the intense heart-wrenching sorrow you feel for those who are probably hundreds of miles away is enough to endure.
- Some people feel it’s important to help those affected by recent national disasters or crises, traumas and tragedies. While physically going to directly assist after something like San Bernardino is unrealistic for most people, sending money or other kinds of assistance may help you feel less hopeless and defeated.
- As a general fall-back plan, you can never go wrong with doing something nurturing, caring or indulgent for yourself. Let yourself sleep in, treat yourself to a massage, soak in a bubble bath, eat the Hagen Das. Take a yoga class, meditate, call a friend and talk, go for a walk. Taking care of you is never the wrong answer.
If you’re in the process of healing from a recent loss, the shooting in San Bernardino may always be a reminder of the time in your life when you endured your own personal struggle through grief. The association may not always feel positive but there is something powerful and connected about having personal awareness and knowledge of the shared and very human experience of grief.