The first few mornings after the tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut, I would turn on the news and be reminded of the reality of the situation. After the death of a loved one, be it protracted or sudden, the survivors often wake up in the morning and for the first few seconds forget. I found myself having this reaction to Sandy Hook.
As a parent, I could not get my mind around the act. I think repeatedly about how the parents must feel every day. I am no stranger to grief. I talk about grief all the time. My job is to help children and their families in their grief journeys. I volunteer as a bereavement group facilitator at a local hospice as well. I lost my husband at a young age and in recent years both my parents. However, this tragedy leads me feeling inept. I can give suggestions to help the kids: answer their questions truthfully, reduce exposure to the news coverage, and help them feel safe. However, how do we adults deal with it? How do we let our children go in a world that feels so uncertain and unsafe? How do we cope?
I do not really have the answers except to say with “love.” We can hold our children a little longer, we can help our neighbors, and we can reach out to someone hurting. Remember, there are probably people that you know experiencing grief and loss or those that are just hurting this time of year. Reach out to listen with a hand to hold, instead of advice to give. Let people know that you care be it friends or strangers. Through these acts, maybe we can find some peace.
There will be discussions about gun control and mental health. However, here I will only say answer the dark with light.-Lane Pease is the Program Director of Kate’s Club. As program director, she oversees the quality of all programs offered to Kate’s Club members and their families. She ensures the programs are consistent with best practices in the field of childhood bereavement. She also leads KC Connects, the outreach program of Kate’s Club. Lane is passionate about helping children and adults through their grief journey. Before Kate’s Club, Lane worked as a counselor in hospice and as a volunteer facilitator at Camp Stars. Prior to becoming a counselor, Lane taught English-to-Speakers-of-Other-Languages to both children and adults in the Atlanta area. She brings keen cultural awareness to her work. Lane holds a BA in Philosophy from Georgia State University and a MS in Clinical Mental Health counseling from Mercer University and is a Nationally Certified Counselor. She is an Atlanta native and lives with her two teenage daughters in Alpharetta.