From Friday June 21 to Friday June 28, there were 27 shootings in Baltimore City. Twenty seven! It is truly unimaginable. And only the week before, Baltimore City reached a milestone of 100 deaths by homicide in 2013.
We struggle to make sense of it. Opinions abound – “we should have better gun control.” “It’s corruption in the police department.” “It’s the failure of families.” “It’s lousy parenting.” Simple explanations fail us.
Those immediately involved are not the only ones who may be traumatized. All of us bear witness to this violence by watching television or reading the newspaper. These tragedies may trigger memories of our own loved ones who have died, and of our own grief.
Our hearts go out to the families who are newly grieving. We can only imagine their pain – the anguish, the desire for revenge, the rage at life being devastatingly unfair. When an elderly person dies, or a person dies as a result of illness, we struggle with grief, yet we may be able to see some dignity in the death. A sudden or violent death can shatter our assumptions about life.
Hearing of these unimaginable shootings heightens our own sense of vulnerability and the vulnerability of those we love. The world feels scary. We reach out to each other for comfort and reassurance.
Whether death is expected or sudden and traumatic, in the face of knee-buckling grief, it’s important to reach out for help. Grief is hard work, and is borne better when feelings are shared with supportive friends, family members and colleagues. Talking with a counselor or joining a support group can help offer a safe place to tell the story, vent the feelings, and begin the healing process.
For more information about grief support through Gilchrist Hospice Care’s Bereavement Services Department, contact firstname.lastname@example.org