I am trying so hard to find a way to deal with my own trauma and grief from the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School. One way for me to feel better during a time like this is to try to help. As a mental health professional, one way to get through my own sorrow is to share a trauma-relief option that might help the surviving children to deal with their internalized grief and sorrow. I might as well share it. I’m sure others have this same idea.
The children at Sandy Hook Elementary School have an incredible challenge ahead of them. They have to find a way to debrief and resolve the trauma that they have absorbed. The daunting trial for them lies in their experience of an extremely traumatic event, developmentally. This horrific experience defies their developmental ability to put words to it and verbalize their feelings about it. Internalized trauma has the potential to arrest, or at least arrest a portion of, their development at this painful point in time and burden them in the future.
So, here is one healing idea for the children who survived the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Help get them back into a new, safe, school environment as soon as possible. Spread out paper all over the gymnasium floor. Make sure that safe adults are standing all around the perimeter. Let the children create art and sign their names to it. Let them express themselves for most of the day, for the first day or two back into school. Assemble the children’s art and incorporate it in into a permanent memorial for their fallen classmates.
Just one idea.
Very good idea Ellie! I have thought about this grief recovery for these children myself, and wonder if revamping the old school, and then slowly, carefully, lovingly re-introduce them to this “formerly” safe and loving haven. It is not the place that brought the evil, but rather the perpetrator, and “reclaiming” this loving space would help teach them that “evil” can be overcome. I also think letting the children cry, and grieve in the presence of their loving parents, and friends, and talking to them clearly at their level about life and death, “good vs. evil”, is probably the most important aspect of healing. So often children have a greater capacity to teach and show us the “way”, as they are fresher to this world than we older travelers, LOL! I do hope and pray that the Newtown families and community will make the right decision for them, and that they will continue to heal, love, and support each other as they have done so far and so well!
Sincerely, Kevin D. Ogborn RN, BSN (Mental Health nurse)
Love love your idea as to one way to assist the children in re-adjusting to their new normal.
Thanks for sharing. 🙂