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After the Tragedy: Is It Ever Really “Over”?

15 Dec. 2015 Posted by aadams

(Written by Ted Uczen, FEI President & CEO)

Earlier this year, my father-in-law passed away suddenly. It was a sad and somewhat chaotic time. Like many families that have experienced these types of tragedies, mine went through stages of grief—each at our own pace—and we plodded through the immediacy of the tragedy and the sad and challenging times afterward. And, as it always does, time moved on and we all began our healing processes.

The other day, my family was out with friends and they asked about our plans for the holidays. My wife explained that we were staying home and spending time with my mother-in-law and other family. She then remarked on how tough this Christmas will be, because the previous Christmas was the last time we had seen my father-in-law. Holidays are always challenging when we have lost family members. I’ve experience it firsthand; my parents have both passed and we’ve spent many Christmases without them. But hearing the sadness in my wife’s voice really touched me and made me think about things a little differently. Will next year be easier? Do we ever get over losing someone? Do we get over any kind of crisis or tragedy? And, going a step further, are business and institutions like individuals? Do they get over crisis and tragedy?

I don’t have a clinical background and am not a trained or licensed counselor, but as I think about these questions, I keep coming back to the answer that no, there really isn’t a time when the tragedy is “over.” Yes, the event ends, but the trauma and impact stays with us. It becomes part of who we are and where we have been while shaping our perspective, our reactions and, frankly, just about everything we do. It is important we recognize and understand this in the things we do and in every interaction we have, whether it be on a personal or business level.

Our communities, our businesses, our teams, our families and each of us need to be trauma informed. We need to understand that all of us carry these histories and tragedies with us. Training ourselves and our organizations to be trauma informed should be on our radar for the coming year, as well as part of our crisis management approach and how we do business on a day-to-day basis.

Have a wonderful holiday season, and a very happy new year. While we do need to be trauma informed year-round, don't let the opportunities of the holiday season pass without recognizing and helping those around you who have experienced tragedy. Give extra support and give extra hugsI know my family will be doing so as we remember my father-in-law and my parents, and use their memories to kindle the joy of the season.



Submitted by Ruthie Maldonad... (not verified) on Tue, 01/12/2016 - 11:58 #

The truly tugged at my heart. Losing my husband of 30+ years in December 2015, I am going through a roller coaster ride. I attempt to remind myself he isn't suffering anymore ... yet the pain is here. Thanks for a wonderful article.

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