Sunday, June 19, 2016
As I watched another tragedy unfold, this time in Orlando, FL, I feel for the families of the victims. I know what it’s like to lose a child; in my case, it was a car accident. Like a murder, it’s sudden, it’s unthinkable, it’s unbearable, like any tragic death. I watch the news everyday and my heart goes out to the families and friends of the victims, as it does in any sudden death.
I remember saying to my loved ones when Marcy died, “What a waste of a beautiful life. What a waste.” I remember repeating that over and over for the first few months as I dealt with the trauma and then year after year as I move on with my life, never forgetting what happened, how a split second could have made all the difference. Why was this driver going 70 mph and swerving through a residential area with no thought of the consequences? Why my daughter? She died instantly; at least she didn’t suffer. I doubt we can say that about most of the Orlando shootings.
As each day of the reports of identifying the dead and injured goes by, many are recovering. Others are not so lucky. I know exactly what these parents are facing now and for the rest of their lives. It will never be over. They will never forget what happened to their loved one, nor will they ever forget their child. It all becomes part of their being that they will learn to live with year after year.
Learning about those at the nightclub (most of them between 20-35 years old) is important to me. I want to know who they were, where they came from, how they lived their lives. I want to put a face to each story. As a former newspaper reporter, I have always been curious about people, always wanting to understand others, so that I can help them wherever possible.
Some families and relatives will need the help of specialists and counselors to get through this, and I hope they get the help they will need. Some things they can do for themselves include: seeking out a grief support group, try online support at www.compassionatefriends.org, talk with friends, family or clergy about how this has affected them, exercise daily, and eat three meals a day for strength and good health.