Tonight, as I sit here and watch the news coverage on the 12th school shooting of the year, the shooting that took place in Florida today, my heart feels saddened.

The conflict that I am feeling centers around the fact that 17 people died, and we must stop for a minute and understand that. These people had families. They had friends. They were loved. They were a part of our human kind—our brothers and sisters. My heart truly hurts when I think about how quickly we chose to move on.

Do you all see what I have written? This is the 12th school shooting. Take a moment to absorb that. What is going on? Children were texting their parents, telling them that they thought they were going to die. These stories from the parents, who were hanging on to the phone with their children, gave them the assurance that what they were hearing was not correct. In their own hearts, they were not sure about it, I am certain of that.

Many times, after a tragedy in our world, I am asked several questions—what do we do now? How do we talk to our children? Before I answer these questions for the twelfth time this year, I must speak from my personal perspective. We cannot allow this to continue.

The question that I continue to ask myself is why? How is this still allowed to happen?

Many times, when I talk to grievers, they often ask me how can they answer the question that keeps ringing in their head—the one question that haunts them: Why? Friends, today is Valentine’s day—the day of love. Who are we becoming?

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I know that my frustration is coming across quite evidently, and for that, I am sorry. But, we all need to get mad. We need to be angry—very angry. It is with this energy and through our anger that true change will happen someday. The world is in great pain right now for what happened today.

So, I am going to turn off the television and sit with my family and my emotions. I want to talk with them and discuss what happened today. As a family, we will reflect on what took place.

I want to help them understand what has just happened—have a family discussion.

My heart is breaking for these families. The world is hurting everywhere right now. We, in America, are hurting. We need to take time and grieve for the loss and the pain of our fellow Americans.

As a griever myself, I know that most people don’t know how to grieve properly. If they were anything like me, they would not even have given grief a single thought until forced to face a personal loss. I am reminded of having friends who wondered why I was still upset after Austin’s death, mostly because they had never experienced emotional pain associated with a loss.

At times, our friends and family tend to provide less support than what we expect from them. This is something that we, as Grief Recovery Specialists, hear from grievers on a regular basis; there are multiple reasons behind such behavior.

The most obvious one is that most of them have had little or next to no education with regard to how one can deal with their own loss. That being the case, it is difficult for them to offer any further assistance than give suggestions, such as the following misinformation:

  • Don’t feel bad
  • Just give it some time
  • Time will heal your pain
  • Keep busy
  • Go back to work

When we experience a new loss, it starts to bring up all the other grief-related issues that are still present from our past losses. If you have not taken steps to move on and overcome these grievous experiences, they will stay with you no matter how hard you try to suppress those feelings. It is not uncommon for one to start dealing with their current loss and past ones as well.

This does not mean that your situation is hopeless and that all this growing grief will stay with you forever. You can take real action to move past this pain. This will help you to enjoy the little things around you as well as allow you to not feel pain, while thinking about the fond memories of your past.

Grief is a normal and natural reaction to any unpleasant change you experience in life. You don’t need to be ‘fixed’ to feel better. You simply need to be shown the way and given instructions on how to ‘recover.’ You do not need to move on too quickly or be upset simply when others choose to move on.

About Sharon Brubaker

Grief is individual and unique for every person. A person’s relationship to each aspect of their life is also unique. As such, the feelings and thoughts each person will have about the relationship that has been altered by death, divorce, or other reasons requires customized attention using proven skills and understanding.

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