Lisa Curtis, LCSW, CASAC, HWC

When There Are No Words

Not so many days ago I was prepared to share with you some thoughts about a father-in-law who had re-arranged their own life to go and help a friend of mine when childcare for his not-yet-a-toddler-but-pretty-close-to-it daughter crapped out for some reason; maybe it was pandemic hiring struggles or mold or a lack of air conditioning. I honestly can’t recall because life on my end got busy and getting that blog post out took a backseat to, well, life. 

On Sunday, as the week was about to start, thoughts of the post returned to my head and it got scheduled on the to do list for Wednesday morning. Except that life, again, threw a massive (and by now all too common) curveball; yet another mass shooting involving young children, teachers and first responders. The levels of trauma are hard to comprehend and yet, here we are. Again. 

For many this is another triggering episode that will bring them back to their own horrors, their own struggles. For some it will be the gut punch of ‘this did not need to happen’ with the added insult of, ‘he must have been mentally ill.’ It feels, to me, like a whirly-gig of cascading emotions, thoughts and layers of professional perspective.

I suspect my emotions are very much like many of yours; sickened about the loss of life, the needlessness of the all these mass shootings, a horror for what was lost in the lives of youngsters and the dedicated educators who brought wisdom, courage and grace to their work. I am enraged about how this country views firearms and the ‘right to bear arms.’ The numbness, shock and tragedy the families and community are feeling right now and which are felt nationwide are present in my mind. 

Perhaps, for some, because there have been so many shootings in the past month, a sense of being detached from it all. Without the use of google I know in New York there was the mass shooting in Buffalo, another one at a church in California and a random gunman on a NYC subway who shot a man, without provocation, to death. And then Texas. And that is not even all since January 1st.  

I have no magic strategy for you ~ because there isn’t one. What there is is more of a reminder that to each of us that is times like this when all the self care practices you’ve built, the communities that you are a part of which are there for support and trusted allies are to be called upon. Trauma is a funny beast; it is not invited nor is it graceful in its exit. The best we can sometimes do while it is rearing its head is just that ~ our best. It might mean turning off the TV or not engaging in social media. It might mean taking an action step such as donating blood or helping with a cause that brings you a sense of purpose. 

Please, take care of yourself in the days ahead, whatever that means for you. If you’re not sure what would be helpful, please ask for help in identifying it. None of us can do the messy work of getting through, healing and growing, without the support of others. Life’s curveballs will keep coming ~ it is, after all, how life goes ~ but that doesn’t mean your life can’t shine and have wonderful moments. So, while a more typical post will be along shortly, maybe even telling you about that grandfather I heard about, for today I would ask that you work today to be kind to yourself and those around you.