It is heartrending to hear such tragic news. Last night, my reaction to the murder of Gilad, Eyal, and Naftali, H”YD was to cry. Today, I cannot forget, and the memory of these innocent victims of terror weighs heavy on my consciousness.
What are we supposed to do? How can we absorb such a loss?
Imagine a trapeze artist in the circus. He lets go of the trapeze to perform his routine, but he will always return to the trapeze (or fall). This is a metaphor for our job in grieving – to learn how to hold on to the memory and at the same time let go of the unbearable pain. This takes a lot of time.
Your initial reaction to loss might be pain, sadness, anger, numbness or denial. Whatever your reaction, there are some concrete steps that you can take to process what has happened.
Release your feelings: Tune in to what you are feeling. This may be obvious, or you might need to stop and spend some time with yourself. When you are tuned in, release your feelings in one of the following ways:
• Talk about it to yourself or to others
• Write it down, without censoring what come out
• Draw or paint or collage a representation of how you feel
• Compose a song or music
• Write a poem
Reach out for support: Choose someone who will be able to listen to you. Tell them “I need to talk about this.” Give a hug or ask for one. Reach out to your people, whether in person, by phone, or your social network.
Formulate a personal meaning from the tragedy: Many strong individuals and families have created meaning from their loss, transforming tragedy into inspiration. Whether using the tragedy to reach out and help others in similar circumstances or looking for spiritual answers, creating meaning is an essential task in grieving a loss.
Finally, I remember a quote by Rachel Naomi Remen: “Every great loss demands that we choose life again. We need to grieve in order to do this. The pain we have not grieved over will always stand between us and life.”
Let us choose life.