When the worst happens, what do you do? Today the worst possible thing a parent can imagine happened. It happened to dozens of families in Connecticut when a gunman shot innocent children and school faculty at a grade school. There are no words to describe the pain, anguish and sadness that fill that community. The worst happened, again. It happened to everyone who hears thestory. We are all affected by this tragic loss. We are forever changed by the events that happened in the Oregon mall and again, by the scene in Connecticut.
What do you do? Shortly after hearing the news of this tragedy I called my daughter. I needed to reach one of my children and hear her voice. I needed to ask about my grandchildren and be reassured that despite the fact that they are hundreds of miles away from this latest shooting that they were okay. My daughter and I cried as we spoke and expressed our love for each other. Rationally, I knew that my family was well and that nothing was happening in Mississippi where they were, but some part of me felt like the world was going insane.
What we do is try to make sense of something that does not make sense to anyone. As a mental health professional, I understand disorders that create these tragic events. I understand that often the individuals who commit these horrendous acts are in pain and have themselves been victims. However, knowing the facts behind the disorders, the traumas, the abuse or the disease does not help me to make sense of it.
We look to our faith for answers when we cannot find a rational reason and try to make sense of it by reasoning that it is God’s will. Often we cannot even understand why a God would allow children to be killed, or a parent to be taken from his family. We are looking for answers where there are not answers.
We feel anger. I feel anger. We feel anger towards God,towards the people who allowed this person to walk the streets and we wonder who let this happen because there must be a reason. There must be someone to blame. The young man who killed these precious children was someone’s child. He was someone’s brother and someone’s friend. He is not here to punish, so whom do we punish. What do we do with our anger?
When the worst happens, what do you do? Whether it is the loss of twenty children or your own mother, father or your child, you can only go forward. You may have been someone who lost your job today, or just served divorce papers, and for you, this is the worst thing that could happen. If it is your loss, it is the worst for you. Others may not understand. They may feel that you are over reacting or just feeling sorry for yourself. They want us to get over it. The fact that you did not loss a child or a parent today this does not ease your pain. You are still hurting, and loss hurts.
What do you do? You wonder how you will go forward. How will these families go forward? When the worst thing happens you only have two choices; you can either lie down or die, or you chose to live. At some point, you will decide which road you will take. I know that sounds straight forward and maybe callous, but it is what it is. You will find a way to go forward. The problem with going on is that we often seek some way to cope with our pain that helps us numb it. We use drugs, alcohol, food, sex or pornography. We self-medicate because we do not want to feel the pain. We either have to go on for the other people in our lives or we just do not want to lie down and die. So we seek some relief,and for short periods we do escape the pain. The relief is short. The pain does not stop. You just learn to live with it. Eventually you are able to live again.
The only healthy way to go on is to take the pain out, look at it, talk about it, feel it and deal with it. You have to find a way to live in pain. Life is painful as we all found out today. Life is full of pain. You cannot get through this life without pain. The only way you do not feel pain is to be dead. That is no way to live. Many people walk about “dead”. They have numb there feelings. They are not living and not feeling. If you love, you will have pain. If you love, you will have joy. It is a given that with life, love and joy there will be pain.
If you are in pain and if the worst has happened and you need to go on but you do not know how. Please make the choice live your life in the fullest possible way, live for those whom today did not have a choice about living and call to get help. I will help you get through the pain and find a place to put the pain in your life where you can live with it. Life is for living.