Let me begin by saying that grief is a very difficult topic to write about. No matter how many times we experience grief in our lives, the mere mention of the word conjures up feelings of sadness and despair. However, despite the negative emotions associated with grief, there is a way you can find hope even in the midst of grief.
By now you may have guessed that the focus of this article is the tragedy that took place in Miami last week and that continues to unfold as of this writing. I daresay, like everyone else, my first reaction on hearing the news was shock followed by unbelief. One of the officials kept repeating, “Buildings like this don’t just collapse.” But the south tower of Champlain Towers, a condo that housed units in the million-dollar range, fell like a giant box of matches in the wee hours of Thursday morning, As of now, ten people have perished and 150 are still unaccounted for.
My heart goes out to the families who are most likely in the early stages of grief we learned about in school. Following the shock and denial comes the anger. Then they will no doubt go through the bargaining and the depression and finally they will come to accept that their loved one is gone, never to return. So, how can they find hope?
- They can look for answers. In the case of the condo collapse, Miami-Dade officials are providing the relatives and the public with round-the-clock information on the progress of the search-and-rescue team. Every little bit of news brings some hope no matter how fragile it might be.
- Make use of social support. Friends, relatives, officials, the Jewish community and the public at large are reaching out with varying levels of support. In times like these, grieving relatives should take advantage of all that is being offered.
- Allow yourself to experience the pain. Sometimes when people are hurting, they try to pretend everything is okay. They keep a stiff upper lip and suffer in stoic silence. This does not help. J K Rowling in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire says, “Numbing the pain for a while will make it worse when you finally feel it.” Drinking alcohol or using drugs to numb the pain only makes it worse. Instead, you should talk, think, write or cry about it. Allow yourself to feel.
- Pray and meditate. Friends and relatives, even strangers, may offer support, but nothing can equal the peace and comfort you feel when you pray and meditate on God’s words. “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” – Psalm 23: 4
- Stay active. You may not be able to go to work for the first few days. If you are feeling depressed, you may want to be alone for a while, but this should not go on for very long. You should be able to carry on your normal activities of daily living—grooming, dressing, eating etc., and surround yourself with people who are supportive.
This post is aimed at those who experienced loss as a result of the collapse of the Champlain Towers in Surfside, Miami, but the content can be substituted for any type of loss—personal as well as material. The good thing about grief is it does not last forever. If you are suffering any type of grief, I pray that God will comfort you and give you the peace only He can give.
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