When tragedy strikes, it’s important to grieve in an honest and healthy way.
Death and grief are part of each of our lives, but sometimes these losses are more difficult – or even impossible – to understand. Today, the sudden and premature deaths of nine people aboard a California helicopter, including NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, has left the country reeling in grief and disbelief. Here at The Grief Girl, we send our love and deepest sympathies to the families and friends of everyone in that helicopter.
Sudden deaths, along with natural disasters, terror attacks and other tragedies, evoke a range of emotions in all of us. It’s normal to feel saddened, vulnerable, fearful of the future and overwhelmed by the helplessness you feel to comfort others or inflict change on a seemingly cruel world. At times like these, it’s important to honor your feelings in an honest and healthy way. You might feel shock, sorrow, fear, anger, grief or any number of emotions. Through this time, there are a few things you can do to heal and help others heal:
Talk to someone. Even if you were not personally affected by an event, it’s natural to seek comfort in a time of grief, fear and stress. Whether you talk to a friend, family member or a professional, it’s important that you allow your feelings to be heard.
Take a break. It might be empathy, curiosity, anger or worry that compels you to sit in front of the news for hours on end – or frequently check headlines on your phone. Being informed is important, but obsessively following the news (particularly following a tragedy) can deepen your sense of distress and helplessness. It’s okay to unplug. Honor those affected in quiet prayers or meditation instead.
Help others. In the wake of a tragedy, there is always help needed. And when you’re feeling helpless, small acts of kindness and love can help these feelings dissipate. Whether you’re donating blood, raising money for victims or simply lending a hand in an unrelated cause, helping out – and being around others who are doing the same – can restore your faith in human love and kindness.
Please remember that the world in which we live is filled with love and beauty. As we struggle to understand events like these, it’s important that we, above all else, show kindness and acceptance to each other. From all of us at The Grief Girl, our prayers and love are with you.
Movies speak to us, not just because they acquaint us with worlds and emotions we’ve never experienced, but more often, because they do. And for as many as two thirds of American adults, Honey Boy will speak straight to the heart.
According to Psychology Today, long-term studies show that as many as 60 percent of children experience neglect, abuse or another type of trauma by age 16, and more than 30 percent were exposed to multiple traumas. Unfortunately, for most of us – including Shia LaBeouf, who wrote and starred in Honey Boy – past trauma doesn’t stay in the past, often haunting adulthood through addiction, depression and even suicide.
Honey Boy brings the LaBeouf’s past trauma frankly and wrenchingly into the spotlight. Portraying his own father, a verbally and physically abusive alcoholic and registered sex offender, LaBeouf underscores the gritty reality of abuse and the tragic effects that remain years after the trauma is over.
As a mental health professional and certified grief counselor, I have seen firsthand how childhood wounds can fester and grow, urging their victims toward unhealthy coping mechanisms and preventing them from experiencing healthy, fulfilling relationships.
by Kristi Hugstad
Each of us has attached ourselves to something or somebody, and when you lose that special thing or person, you grieve. Always. You can try to run from it all you want, but it will always find you and tackle you when you’re not looking. My blogs, along with my books, will give you the tools to help you learn to live with your new self as you journey through your grief.