Aftermath, or Today is Another Day

Is there a benefit in describing the emotional response to a perceived trauma? Forever observing the myriad of reactions of others, it took a bit to put into words my own. Once articulated, I was able to gain the distance I needed to rebalance and then observe and contemplate.

What can we learn from this? If I had to name something that would've helped, it would be the same as if I were experiencing grief: I needed an ear or a shoulder, but no words. I decided it had to run its course, I had to get to a point where I could regain a sense of balance, and that couldn't happen until it was all played out in my head.

For someone watching, trying to 'be there' for a person in an emotional train wreck, the experience is much different. Nothing said helps, no alternatives offered are considered, and the helplessness and frustration mounts until there is no choice but to back away and exit. Obviously, that's not much of a shoulder. It's difficult not to "do something," anything, when in a helping situation, but that's exactly what you need to forget about. Just be there and listen.

My solace came from processing it all, reading as much as I could tolerate, looking at all the photos searching for a recognized face, then I just pushed it all away. I headed outside to enjoy the beautiful afternoon, armed with a curry and my camera, and let my dogs and horse plunge me back into the moment. Ah, there's the joy again; the pure and unadulterated, unblemished joy. It cleared my head. And heart.

The people in Binghamton, NY are now struggling with the "why" of the senselessness. They are wondering, fearfully, just what parts of their lives have changed, forever affected by an angry man who could no longer stand up to the pressures of life. One hopeless man changed the lives of thousands of people he never met.

It's the same for every community that has experienced tragedy. Perhaps we find it easier to console those hit with a natural disaster. No one seems to question "why" tornadoes, hurricanes or floods destroy lives. But when one man hurts another or many others, the "why" adds to the grief and the overall severity of the tragedy. Someone, anyone, should have seen it coming and stopped the man from killing. Realistically, the odds are not much better trying to stop a person from killing than the odds of stopping a tornado. People aren't as predictable as the weather.

This is something we all need to be aware of in these very tense and stressful times, both in ourselves and in the people around us. That one last straw that breaks the camel's back is a heavy one.

Be well, and find your moment.


  1. I can imagine what you are going through. Many years ago, a gunman ran amok in a nearby school in Scotland. I can still remember the feelings, albeit faded somewhat now. Take care. It's so good that you have the animals to give you comfort.

  2. It is the same sort of reaction that millions experienced after 9/11. I know more than a few people still dealing with that trauma.

    My animals are great!

  3. Hope you are well and you find out more about the people you love and I certainly hope they are safe. These tragic events make us realize how fleeting this life really is. It's so sad when another human snaps and doesn't care who is in the path and no one is safe, so pitiful for those left behind that can't make sense of anything. Saying a prayer for those left in this trail of destruction.

  4. The why... We feel responsible for the actions of other people. We could have taken better care of their emotional side, so they wouldn't need to kill. Failing that, we should have seen the warning signs, we should have stopped them. We should have been more careful.

    You can't do anything to stop a tornado, you can't stop tsunamis and earth quakes. The more we learn of these things, the more difficult it become stop accept. Why didn't we have gadgets measuring the activity underground, why couldn't we at least warn them before it happened...

    When it comes to natural disasters, there's also something oddly comforting about them. We are still vulnerable to the wrath of nature, we are not immortal yet. It is an oddly nice feeling. That wouldn't have consoled me if the Victorian bushfire had traveled 20 kilometers more to the west and killed my friend, her husband and their 10 dogs. But I don't think I had asked why. I knew the fire was out of control and it took everyone by surprise. There was nothing anyone could have done...

    Oddly, I remember a range of tragedies that someone I know barely missed. For example, a Finnish cruiser boat sank in the early 90's taking down 700 people down with it. A very close friend of mine was waiting for that same boat to get on it as soon as it would have arrived... But who can stay this lucky forever?

  5. If you tell someone of your emotional distress or whatever, they want to help--they want to "fix" it for you. I guess that is human nature? I usually have to do what you did--work it out in my brain--distracted from the people around me I am afraid, but it must be worked out in my own mind in my own time.

    I am glad you had your animals to bring you back to the present.