In this season of pumpkin spice lattes and apple crisp, instead of feeling cozy from the wafting scent of cinnamon and curling up in warm sweaters, I feel raw. It feels like the world is spinning out of control. In the last two months, the news has been heavy. As if Hurricane Harvey and Irma weren’t enough, then Hurricane Maria rips through devastating the nation of Puerto Rico. In Nepal throughout the summer record-level floods killed over 1,000 people. Over half a million Rohingya refugees are fleeing Myanmar. So when I turned on the national news and watched the tragic events of the shooting in Las Vegas unfold, waves of sadness and disbelief came. Haven’t we had enough?
My mom-heart wants to reach out and make the suffering go away. For the family and friends who have lost their homes, possessions, and where their communities have been destroyed, I want to make it all better. For those who have lost their significant other, best friend, co-worker, sister, brother, mom or dad, I want to remove the grief and shock that they shoulder. Few comfort phrases come to mind in situations like this, I’m sorry this happened, You’ll get through this. They seem so trite. How can I really make a difference?
Though I watched these events from afar, the unedited footage taken on cell phones make it all too real. I can only imagine what those in the midst of the events feel. These nightmare situations spur on thoughts about the world I am raising my children. I wonder if anywhere is safe? Should I stop attending public events? What’s going to happen next?
The condition of experiencing tragic events without being personally involved does NOT involve the same level of distress as someone who experienced the incident, but it does produce unsettling emotions. The American Psychological Association highlights points about managing distress about earthquakes from afar. They also have a good resource for talking to your kids about difficult news.
One of their points: Shut the television off. I have done this in the past. I get it, watching or listening to hours of coverage about tragedies doesn’t really help anyone. But, I don’t want to distance myself so much I don’t care about creating a better world for others? At the heart of the matter, this is why it feels so raw. I want the world to be safe. I want us to wake up and be responsible, but I feel small and powerless.
I asked the question, what can I do? Which, is the wrong question. What can we do? Is a better one. The fact that the Las Vegas hospitals prepared for such an incident saved lives. People lining up for blocks to donate blood was an example of a community pulling together. Stories continue to unfold about humans helping others before, during, and after the hurricanes.
These incidents can spur us on to look at our own communities and the policies of our nation. How can we make them safer, more sustainable, and prepared? Start small and open up the conversation. Start by talking with a friend or in your mom groups over coffee and face to face about your thoughts and ideas. Choose one way to support an issue together. We already know our mom-hearts are powerful forces, image them pumping together for a stronger community and world.
What are your thoughts and feelings about recent events?