When tragedy strikes, Americans sit glued to all forms of media, waiting to be fed news, much like catfish laying, mouth open wide, on the river bottom waiting for food. It happened with the two hurricanes hitting Texas and Florida, and almost wiping out Puerto Rico . Then came Las Vegas.
After all hurricanes, ears were glued to learn the exact devastation, and ways to help. They wanted to know loved ones were safe. After the horrific and monumental Las Vegas shooting. Americans continue to hunger for information to bring order and resolution to a catastrophic event done by man; not Mother Nature. Absolutely unbelievable.
It’s impossible for our minds to wrap around any tragedy, let alone one of this magnitude. It’s even harder when so many fall so close together. Each tragedy requires grieving.
Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. KJV
For me, the Las Vegas shooting was clouded over. Sounds crazy, right? Well, you see, we had two personal tragedies we were attempting to process already. One occurred the morning before Las Vegas, and the other, the prior evening. Recap – one tragedy Friday evening, one Saturday morning, and Las Vegas Sunday night. No one’s brain can wrap their mind around this much tragedy. It might not have been 9-11, but takes time to process such events.
Our friend’s voice boomed from my husband’s cell phone. “Our son has been shot. He’s in surgery right now. Please pray.”
“Where is he, and any idea what part of his body they’re operating on?” I inquired.
“No details yet. That’s all they know,” my husband replied, trying to keep calm. “I know it’s a five hour drive to the hospital, and they don’t have enough gas.”
Holding my breath for a few seconds, before releasing slowly, absorb the shock. Now, my lips sent up prayers, before phoning all prayer warriors.
A few details had been discovered by the time the parents made it to our house, but my mind was preoccupied all night. Sleep wasn’t restful, to say the least.
Finally reaching a deep sleep in the early morning, my husband blurted out, “Oh, no!”
Stirring, I mumbled, “What? What happened?”
His news woke me up the same way a tornado siren would. The television announced a woman in our small town was set on fire and died fifteen minutes earlier.
“Set on fire? Really?” I asked jolting upright. Was I dreaming, I wondered.
Steve released the mute button so I could hear. The newscaster continued, “Three police officers attempting to save the victim, were also burned, along with the suspect.”
Little sleep, and now this. These things don’t happen in our neck of the woods. Questions rolled around. Texts flew. Kids called with Facebook updates on the matter. Surely something heard or read would help make sense of such a tragedy.
We knew the victim fairly well. In fact, both my husband and youngest daughter saw her the last day of her life. Eerie feelings. Her children were close to our oldest two in school years, and beyond.
Attempting to fill in pieces of a puzzle not there, Steve interrupted my futile efforts. “I wish they would announce who the officers are to see if I know them.”
Within several hours, we learned, two of the officers were fortunate enough to be treated and released. The other and the suspect lay in a burn unit an hour and a half away. Names were released later. And, yes, we knew all three, but knew the hospitalized officer the most.
Shock replaced plans for the day…for the weekend. Like a game of ping-pong, my mouth went from silence to seeking information and sharing memories. Thoughts raced before coming to a sudden halt. Empathy leaked out like drinking from a sippy cup with a loose lid. Church resembled simultaneous therapy sessions, and salve to wounded souls, rather than offering praises to our merciful God.
One church member shared many details as he lived across the street, and the suspect had come over there, too. He could’ve been a victim also. .
What does a person do when tragedy strikes so closely together? Same thing as you would when any tragedy strikes. Grieve. At least you should. More tragedy equals longer grieving process, and it becomes easier to suppress emotions or skip parts of the grieving process.
As sickness and storms of life strike in the form of family deaths, surgeries, car wrecks, and work accidents, remember to grieve. Don’t skip. Don’t bury emotions, and don’t get stuck in the process. Every loss, no matter how big or how small, requires a level of grieving.
LET’S TALK. How have you been during all of these natural and man-made tragedies? Where are you at in the grieving process? Feel free to share with us in the comments below.
Thanks once again for your patience with my brief absence. Extra travel and sickness were added to our household. God is good. and helps us grieve. Don’t forget to share this with others, or read some of my other stories while you’re here, if you’ve got time.