Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Reflections on Loss

When the news of the latest mass-shooting tragedy in Connecticut roiled the airwaves and interwebs last week, I took a pause and then tuned out.  This was particularly difficult to do with the widespread reaction that rippled through every conceivable channel, particularly in this Facebook and Twitter world.  But I did it for a few simple reasons.  First, the mania of this event was a bit of a downer, and I was looking forward to a nice weekend at home.  Second, there was nothing that I could add to further clarify or to better understand what this tragedy meant.  Third and related, I could not find a way to access the path towards grappling with the outcome and its impact on so many people (and in, seemingly, a deep and profound way) to start down the path of grieving the loss.

Perhaps I am too close to the tragedy at Penn State last year, but I have learned that such high-impact shocks require their own, personal path towards internal grappling and closure that can take days, weeks, months, or even years to resolve.  I have also learned that the outpouring is its own form of grief and healing.  The Greeks called it catharsis, which was applied as a concept to their theater, moments that allow the audience to connect with the scenes onstage, even if not related to their own life, as an emotional outlet.  The truth comes from relating to and feeling the emotion, which can purge one's own feelings related to the drama unfolding.

Unfortunately, we should expect life full on ongoing shocks and traumas.  And as soon as we address the feelings resulting from such a senseless mass-shooting tragedy, another tragedy will come along to take over the airwaves and interwebs.  I only hope that we continue to learn how to grapple with these tragedies in ways that take into account our shared humanity but personal, diverse journeys towards grappling with grieving and loss. 
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