I was so saddened to hear of the recent situation that occurred at the Marion Hy-Vee. How tragic for those involved, for those who witnessed or heard about it, and for our community as a whole. After spending the first 8 years of my professional career providing services to families following a homicide, my heart just breaks for those who knew and loved Lynnsey Donald. It is so challenging to make sense of homicide, a seemingly preventable death so often committed by someone the victim knows. And suicide, or even the attempt of a suicide, is heartbreaking and challenging in its own right. It’s hard for many of us to imagine a life that is so painful that death seems like the best option, or to wonder after the fact if there is something we could have done to help.
When tragedy happens, even if we don’t directly know those involved, we may reach a point of crisis in our lives. A situation on the news or one that we witness may bring back memories of a situation of our own that triggers feelings we thought we had dealt with long before. Or we may fear for those we love that something may happen to them. One of my biggest concerns is talking to my own children about tragedy. Children of all ages see and hear things – conversations between adults, or on the TV, in the newspaper or on social media. How do we help them to understand something that just doesn’t make sense? What do we say to them to help them feel safe? How do we answer the challenging questions that as parent’s we’re happy they asked….but fear we might give the wrong answer? This article is an older one, but one that I keep turning to when I need a reminder in my own life about how to remain open and honest about what I share with my own children. http://www.pbs.org/parents/experts/archive/2013/05/helping-kids-cope-with-trauma.html . There are many resources out there, but making yourself available for discussion and being a safe place for your children is really key in helping them understand what happened and how it affects them.
Lastly, our community is fortunate to have Foundation 2 when a tragic situation occurs. Our 24/7 crisis line is answered by trained crisis counselors and they are prepared to listen, answer questions and provide guidance. Our Mobile Crisis Outreach can be dispatched to meet people where they are at — a school, a home, a place of work – and provide the same caring guidance and support in person. We know that one community organization can’t do it all so we’re very knowledgeable about community resources and can make referrals that best meet your needs. We were created nearly 45 years ago to be a resource to those in crisis and when tragedy strikes a community, like it did the other night, remember that we’re here for you.
-Emily Blomme, Foundation 2 Executive Director