Dealing with tragedy


Tragedy is defined as an event or a circumstance that causes great suffering and distress. Words cannot express how some of you are hurting at the sudden loss of a young man in our community. Every loss of a loved one is difficult, but this loss seems to pain our community more deeply, since it is a life that was cut so short. Small cities and communities have positive attributes; one being where the community at-large feels like one big family. Thus, making it that when one member of the community hurts, we all hurt.

There are no words that can be written or spoken in this moment that would take away the pain we may be experiencing right now. The hugs are not long enough as to heal our broken hearts. I, for one, cannot tell you how to grieve our community’s loss. But I can tell you that it is okay to allow yourself to grieve and mourn. If you will permit me to encourage you with some wise advice that once was given to me, when grieving:

1) We all grieve differently; there is neither a right way nor a wrong way to grieve. It is, however, important to recognize this and not try to force someone to grieve the way you think is most appropriate. Let us all give people their space to grieve.

2) After the initial shock of a tragedy, we may feel depression, anger, fear, etc. These emotions will come like waves of the ocean. Sometimes they will be overwhelming and other times they will be manageable. Allow these feelings to ebb and flow; they will not last forever.

3) It is okay to go seek the counsel of a friend or a therapist. Your heart is hurt and the pain is difficult to deal with. Talking to another person can help you walk through this moment. Utilizing prayer, local clergy, and the like are effective ways to navigate through the journey of grief.

4) It will take time. Tragedy stuns our world, but the world around us does not stop. Not all will just bounce back quickly. So please, be gracious with yourself and those around you as all of you try to adjust to the disruption of tragedy.

5) You may not feel like yourself. Heartache affects us all differently and there is no clear way to predict how we are going to respond. Offer yourself grace as you navigate through it as it is okay not to be okay.

6) Continue self-care. Please make sure you eat, sleep, and hydrate. Grief can cause us to push self-care to the side. You may not eat much, sleep well, or hydrate as often but try to remind yourself that self-care is important.

7) It may not seem like it right now, but in time the sting of your grief and pain will lessen. But know that it takes time, it will not happen overnight. Please trust me when I tell you, we will get through this.

Our hearts go out to the family of this young man. We pray for them during this difficult time. Please know that your community is here for you. We will respect your privacy to the upmost. Know that you are loved, cared for, and being prayed for daily.


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