When the World Goes Wrong

September 7, 2016

When the world goes wrong, when tragedy strikes, when you just cannot handle one more emotional strain in an already overflowing current of grief . . . take time for yourself.

It is alright to turn off the world, the news, the Internet, the phone (whatever you need) and just shut things out for a while.

On a Friday that changed the world {Sandy Hook, CT shootings} I was a mere 20 miles away attending a Christmas party with my children.  A friend of mine walked into the party (after passing multiple ambulances on her way to the party) and told me the news.   I listened. . . I sat numbly and just listened to all the parents begin to ask questions, the rumors flying, the shock still too fresh as the news was still uncertain as to exactly what had happened, or if it was still happening.

We live in CT.  We almost bought a home in Sandy Hook.  We would have been there, in the middle of the terror and community grief.  And that was all I could take.

I shut out the world, not wanting to be bombarded with any images from the news.  I cried for days on end.  I turned to my painting and created.  I made the conscious choice to make time with my children and do the things at home we had planned.   I insulated myself from information overload or from feeling like a voyeur during the aftermath of horror.

As a parent who has experienced the death of a child (admittedly different then the Sandy Hook parents) my pain and grief level simply skyrocket and didn’t subside.  I felt like a raw, exposed nerve.  I could not respond to FB requests to donate, help, send letter, sign petitions or anything else.  Because quite simply, I couldn’t.  And that is alright.

Taking care of yourself during a crisis or tragedy is important.  We, as loss parents, are susceptible in a totally different way to the pain that the world is watching from afar.  For many of us, it was like being sucked into a time machine and being in those first moments of our grief all over again.  So I encourage you, as this new year unfolds, to unplug and engage in self care.  Don’t forget that (unfortunately) this will probably not be the last horror we witness in our lifetime.  Remember that life is precious and try and find ways to love yourself through the most difficult times.  Because, if we don’t take care of ourselves {as fragile as we can be} we won’t be able to take care of others when they need us most.

  • Stephanie

    Stephanie Dyer, a mother of five children with four who walk on earth and one who soars, spends her days homeschooling and her nights painting. She has used her years of training and counseling as a LMSW-ACP to help her children deal with the loss of their sister. A self-taught artist, Stephanie currently owns and operates Beyond Words Designs, the company through which she publishes her artistry and runs the Donate Art project, a charity begun in honor of her daughter Amelia.

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