Grieving as a Community

We all remember terrible incidents over our lifetimes when there are deaths of a large number of people. They are shocking. But nothing is as shocking to the world community than the death of a large number of children.

The horrifying number of children killed in American schools by mass shooters is distressing. So too are school bus crashes when multiple children are killed.

The Community Horror of Tragedy

A large part of what most people feel in the wake of such incidents is horror at what the parents are going through.

As a community we also feel the horror of those beautiful lives that have ended far too soon.

For the families of these children there is terrible grief, especially when more than one child has died. But
I am not going to talk about that today.

What I am going to talk about is how we as a community grieve the loss of lives, especially those of children.

The Cost of The Loss of an Individual

How do you quantify the loss of a child?

When a child dies their physical body and presence on earth is lost. But there is more than that which is lost.

There is the potential that is lost. Who might that child have become? How will the future be impacted by their absence? What relationships will never form because they are not there? What contribution may they have made to the world? What might the descendants that will now never be born have contributed to the world? How will their death change the course of our lives?

What The Loss Means to Family and Community

How do you quantify what the loss of each child means to their family and friends?

How do you quantify what the loss of each child means to their community?

As each layer of society is affected by the loss of each child, the impacts radiate out into the next layer and the next layer. Very much like ripples in a pond.

How Individuals Are Impacted

As citizens of this earth, we are all impacted by these mass deaths.

We feel deeply for the families. Many of us will imagine how we would feel if it was our own child and we feel such grief for the parents. We feel their pain and it hurts. Many will cry over the pain of the parents.

As an individual in a community you will likely grieve for those lost lives. It may not consume you in the way it would if the child was a family member, but you will still feel the impact of their loss. Your brain will not be as impacted as you had no neural connection to the child, but you will feel the pain of caring for a fellow human who has suffered the unimaginable loss of a child.

As you absorb the horror of these losses, your own grief for those you have lost in the past may surface. And that is something you will need to attend to.

Secondary Trauma

The deaths of so many and the horror you feel is known as secondary trauma. You may not have personally been involved, but you can put yourself in the place of those who have been personally involved. When you do that, you can feel the horror they are feeling.

Don’t fear secondary trauma. It is a beautiful reminder of how interconnected we humans are. We are not isolated communities in separate countries. We are all citizens of the earth. One large interconnected mass of humanity.

We Live In A Connected World

It is hard, in this world of mass communication and heavy news coverage, to avoid being exposed to terrible tragedies. And would you want to live your life unaware of the need to show compassion for others?

From devastating house fires, school shootings, earthquakes, tsunamis, bushfires, floods and more you experience so much of the horror of the world. You may not hear of every tragedy, but the ones you hear about are difficult enough.

What Can I Do?

When something terrible happens on the other side of the world, or the other side of your community, what do you do? What can you do? It is hard to feel anything but helpless in these situations. What can you as an individual do?

When something terrible happens there is such sadness. You may not personally be involved but you still feel sad. Maybe you even feel guilty that you are enjoying life with your family in your home. You may well long to rush out to offer comfort to those who are hurting.

So often after terrible events the community draws together. The number of people who donate money to assist others caught up in disasters is one such instance. After floods, the people who turn up to help with the clean up is another instance. Communities draw together and offer support. In large disasters help comes from all around the world.

Community Healing

This drawing together of people is part of the healing of the community. Honouring the lives that were lost is another way of healing. Ensuring changes are made to reduce the likelihood of the incident happening again is another way of healing. As is setting up disaster protocols and teams to respond more effectively to any future incidents.

The pain of what happened will always remain, but the community will move forward with the sadness of what has happened.

The Power of Compassion

Importantly all will remember that compassion is a powerful tool to give to others. And you will do well to remember that you are a member of a community. It may seem you are alone, but in reality you are not.

If a tragedy leaves you feeling unable to cope. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help. That may involve talking to understanding friends, or seeing a counsellor.

Can I Help?

If you would like to talk to me about how I can help you process these difficult events and your own grief, please contact me on 0409396608 or

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