Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘Gun violence’

Healing Grief

Recently we saw media coverage of yet another death from gun violence. This time a TSA worker who was simply doing his job. His life snuffed out in a split second leaving yet another family to grieve for their loved one. We experience 32 deaths daily in the U.S. from gun violence. A shocking but accurate statistic. These losses leave hundreds possibly thousands of walking wounded family and friends attempting to cope with these losses. Some are experiencing this type of grief for the first time in their lives. They wonder if they will ever be the same again.

Grief doesn’t leave very much room for new people or new experiences in our lives. We are simply exhausted just getting through the day with the burden and sorrow of our loss. We replay the ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys’ in our minds non stop in an effort to arrive at an understanding and eventual acceptance that our world will never be the same. Our loved one is gone…

We are frightened about becoming attached to others – the unpredictability of life just seems too overwhelming to allow any new connections to happen. After all, we think to ourselves, I don’t understand and couldn’t control this loss and it hurts too much to risk loss again. We may choose to remain isolated and aloof from others mistakenly thinking that there is safety in isolation. After all, we think to ourselves, others won’t judge us and wonder when we will be ourselves again. Yet, we don’t even know how to be the selves we once were before the loss. However, hiding our feelings drives the hurt deeper.

People wonder how long it will take to get over the feeling of devastation that hits you within seconds of waking in the morning. The time varies just as our experiences vary. The depth of our loss is directly related to the depth of our love.

One thing that’s important to remember is that rather than being concerned when you will ‘get over it’ the greater concern is any decisions that you make when you are still grieving. You will live with the results of these decisions forever. It is better to do nothing than risk a decision that could haunt you for the rest of your life. Take as long as you need to rearrange things in your life – after all, it is your life now and it is badly in need of repair.

Neil Abramson said in his book “Unsaid,” that ‘grief is so powerful because it has ‘one fierce allay and that is regret. Before you know it you’ve become that bitter shadow that people who used to love you cross the street to avoid.’

Powerful words to consider. When you choose isolation you do not heal but you bury the loss deep in your psyche and it will resurface when you least expect it – often in the form of fear and anger.

Better to find a friend or family member who will listen as you repeat the story about your loved one. You may need to repeat it hundreds of times but each time you will, in essence, be applying a small amount of salve on the wound in your heart. Slowly, very slowly it will heal. It will always leave a noticeable mark but not a chasm of fear and longing when you have taken the time to experience your grief fully.

Grief takes time but you are so worth it.

Have a great few days!

Another Life, Another Tragedy

Another senseless death – a TSA worker simply doing his job – is gone. Didn’t the terrible tragedy at Sandy Hook elementary school teach us anything? For those of us who have lost someone it reminds us that life is fragile, there is no guarantee of tomorrow. As we watch others live through the stages of grief, from a loss that could have been prevented, we wonder what will it take, how many more lives must be lost before we are strong enough as a country to make the changes necessary to ensure greater safety for everyone. The survivors, the family members will get through this over time but never get over it. As we know the death of a loved one changes our life forever.

These innocent people, including children and public workers simply could not have died in vain. These deaths have brought our nation to our knees, momentarily stunned into silence, as we watch people run, yet again, from the sounds of a gun firing into a crowd of innocent people. Is it possible that these human beings have given their lives to teach us as a nation that life is sacred and that gun violence should no longer be tolerated? Do we take pride in being labeled the gun capital of the world? I think not, we are better than that – or are we?

In a recent interview former President Clinton said he is the only president who stood up to the NRA and won. It seems that our elected officials are more worried about being reelected – meaning not standing up to the NRA- that voting the will of the people. President Clinton explained that in a recent poll 92% of American people stated that they support a ban on assault rifles. Yet when the critical time comes to vote they are NOT EVEN AWARE of a candidate’s position on the topic! We are blessed to be able to vote freely in this country but with that opportunity comes an obligation to be informed on the issues before simply pulling a lever.

The words of President Obama in January still ring in my ears, “We must change…doing nothing is not an option,” they should cause us to wake up and face the truth in our country. We have allowed violence to grow to epidemic proportions. We pride ourselves in being the leader of the civilized world and yet experience 32 murders per DAY in the U.S. What can we learn from countries such as England, Australia, Germany and Japan who have acted decisively, in a nonpartisan effort, to assure the safety of their people and defenseless children? Can we check our egos at the door, finally, and say we can humble ourselves enough to learn from others? We are strong, we are intelligent but we are not invincible.

Piers Morgan of CNN has been relentless in his effort to help us understand the staggering statistics that, sadly, are unique to the U.S. Both professionally and personally he is committed to doing something to help. He is not letting the issue of our need for greater gun control drop as the rest of the country resumes their lives.

Senator Diane Feinstein saw the positive effect from the legislation to ban assault weapons succeed for 10 years, until 2004 when it expired as part of the sunset provision contained in the law. Yet, she has been back once again trying to pass legislation to ban the deadly assault rifles. As she said about Sandy Hook, “This is the straw that broke the camel’s back!” She is a model senator who will eventually receive the support of legislators in Washington when and if they are held accountable by us and not until.

What can we do to help? We must keep up the pressure to see assault weapon legislation passed again but this time with NO sunset provision. That will ensure greater safety for all of us – especially our children. Other major issues such as improved mental health services and reducing the amount of violence promoted on T.V., movies and video games must be addressed. Glamorizing violence, killing and maiming is simply wrong. When you put garbage in your mind you get garbage out. It is simply cause and effect. We know that we are what we think about most often.

The candidates running in the mid term elections in 2014 will be gearing up shortly. May we be strong enough, informed enough and tenacious enough to elect individuals who will do the right thing.

Please pass this blog on to others. We will need all the support possible to make the changes necessary in our country. Together we can change our world.