For so many, this has been a week of gutting loss.
When truly terrible things happen to other humans, everyone processes the reality. Some are able to remain detached, almost reflective or even cerebral. Others personalize. But, whether subliminal or literal, from its affect there is no true escape. How can any not be reminded of the fragility of every breath, when another’s is snuffed out?
To the traumatized, tragic events throw us back to our most recent assaulting experiences – however brief, however private. Even if identities are unknown, we seek them as if, in the naming, we can meld to them our own sensate responses, giving these place.
None of this is comprehended by the critical mind. One has to know with the tactile sense, or the auditory, held in deep subconscious. If memories of being stalked, or abused, are stored these emerge with a vengeance even at the news of ill befalling the vulnerable. Our wounded selves must make sense through the senses.
I once knew someone whose behavior patterns were self sabotaging, reckless, even life threatening. To this day, every time a vehicle matching in description the one this person drove is involved in a collision, my entire body endures multiple emotions in rapid succession: shock; panic; fear; uncertainty; obsession; compulsion; relief. This response is ingrained, trained by a period of years.
Humans are wired to relive every unresolved experience which has threatened health and welfare. And, resolution is slow to realize. When another’s life is taken at the hands of a trusted partner, particularly inside the haven of home, the feeling of personal threat returns with a force beyond mere empathy. In the grip of such reaction, grief is not proprietary; it becomes the domain of all who have ever felt anything.
Yes. Tragedy triggers. We must give ourselves permission to not only grieve but accept that, in our grief, we are far from alone. We have become a part of a collective of loss.
© 8/30/21 Ruth Ann Scanzillo All rights those of the author, whose name appears above this line.
2 thoughts on “The Trigger of Tragedy.”
This is so true and particularly applicable for me today. A friend passed away last night, but when I heard about his transport from one city to another in FL, I relived the day in Feb. 2017 when my brother was flown to Erie from FL. It was horrendous.And then I reflect on his 70 days at St. Mary’s rehabbing Oh, I wish I could eras the thoughts but I know I can’t so I alter my attitude and realize how much better of he is now in Heaven than on Earth. Thanks, Ruth Ann.
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Oh, God, Judy. Is this somebody from Erie?? I’m so sorry, both that you lost a friend and had to relive your brother’s story. I’d never heard it. I will message you, on FB.