One Incident Changed Everything–Twice
Death and loss and grief impact us in different ways but the burden is always a heavy one. We struggle with healing, with feeling normal or even letting light penetrate the veil of darkness that enshrouds us.
No one is immune from the effects of death or loss. No one escapes the trials and burdens of grief. As adults, we struggle. But for children the burdens are in ways even heavier and more confusing. Most don’t fully understand the finality of death. Children are young and inexperienced and most things are new and different to them. So too is death and loss.
When death or loss occurs as a result of violence, for most kids, that too is a new and different experience. Parents and caregivers typically do their best to shield children from those harsh realities. When the death or loss happens in their presence, kids are as shocked and as terrified as adults. They lack the coping skills of older people who have had more experience at coping, so the kids look to adults they trust to see how they should react to the event, to death, and to loss.
It’s been said that kids learn what they live. There’s a lot of wisdom in that. They also learn from those they trust and how those people react. If a parent or trusted one reacts well, the child will take cues and react well. If the adult does not, the child will follow that lead.
After a tragedy, children need information and tools. To know it’s okay to be sad. To miss the person who has died. To heal, and recover, and continue on with life. They need to know that it is okay to laugh and play and be happy again. That it is not an insult to the person no longer there. They need to know that life goes on, as it has and will in the future.
With grief typically comes guilt. For smiling again. For going a whole day without thinking of the departed. For feeling happy. For some, they feel guilty that they survived while others died. Especially if they were responsible for the departed’s safety.
The emotions that come with death and grief are harsh, merciless and few escape them. Striving for perspective is a struggle and a journey. But we make it. At first, the pain of loss is such a shock, so intense, we feel we’re ripping apart inside. Rightly or wrongly, we regret everything we did or didn’t do. We buckle under the weight of what ifs or I wish I had, and our souls cry for just five more minutes with that person, for one chance to change something, anything and cheat death.
With time, the numbness of shock wears off, and we grind through all that to acceptance. We adjust. And we ache. But we go on, and one day we see the sunshine and don’t curse it as being arrogant for daring to shine when we’re in such a dark place. We hear laughter and aren’t appalled by it but intrigued to see what brought that joy. In other words, we crawl out of the dark abyss of grief and rejoin the world of the living. That too can make us feel guilty. Make us question whether or not we deserve more life. We do, and eventually we accept that and we do recreate our life and go on. We don’t forget, but we do move forward and live.Read More…