Saturday, February 9, 2008

Time to Grieve

As you may have heard, in Kirkwood, five innocent people were shot to death. The shooter, himself, was eventually killed by a police officer. The church I attend is in Kirkwood and I lived there for several years. While I did not personally know any of the victims, my heart goes out to all of them and their families. I can not imagine sending my husband off to a meeting and then never seeing him alive again. These victims have families and loved ones whose lives are forever changed. All I can do is keep them in my thoughts and prayers.

Last night there was a community memorial service. While we still attend church in Kirkwood, we live about forty minutes away. Therefore, I watched the service on a local station. It was a touching candlelight service with local ministers and clergy speaking. Many of their themes touched upon rememberence, grief, understanding, forgiveness and healing. While I am sure this provided some comfort to people, I found it a little maddening. I am not ready to understand, forgive and heal. I will never understand why people need to move forward so quickly. Why can't people just have time to grieve? Many cultures have mourning periods. I find this to be very beneficial. People need time to just sit and fully grieve - in whatever way they need. I can guarantee that if my loved one was a victim, I would not, at this moment, be thinking about healing and forgiveness. I would be experiencing loss, devestation, anger, overwhelming sadness and hopelessness. I would want those feelings to be acknowledged and not have to think that I needed to immediately look to the future and be hopeful and forgive. Yes, in time, I would hope to be there, but please, let people live in the present and fully experience what they are feeling. That is what they need.


NathanJay said...

I fully agree with you that grieving takes time, more time than most people realize. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross believed that the full impact of the death reqiores at ;east six weeks from the death.

The Jewish tradition allows a full year to grieve. It has a ritual to mark both the beginning and the end of that period.

We are familiar with the ritual of rending the garment at the time of the death, but few of us realize that there is a closing ritual associated with it. At the end of the year of mourning the torn garment is taken up and is sewn back together. A thread of a contrasting color is used and the repair is made coarsely, so that the sewn area resembles a scar. The garment is now functional, but it will never be as it was before. The symbolism is that the garment of our lives can be put back together following a death, but we will never be as we were before.

Our society is too quick to toss out the damaged garment and replace it with a new one.

h sofia said...

I have never had to grieve the death of anyone I was really close to, but if something like this were to happen to my mother, brothers, or husband - esp. my husband - I cannot imagine forgiving or healing the next day.

Montessori Mama said...

Once again you've said it beautifully. I agree with you and feel for your community. I am so sorry this happened and will pray for the families. In loving PEACE

Anonymous said...

Our church (also in kirkwood)started with a song of lament & moments of silence. we also had a bell rung for every victim, and the shooter. A former city councilperson who knew everyone involved spoke about each person. I liked the combination of space for sadness, along with a symbol of forgiveness (marking the killer's death as a loss as well), even if people are not there yet. interesting question Tracey..I would be interested in how you would have led that service.

Angelina said...

I have always viewed mourning and grieving as a vital part of dealing with death. I personally choose to wear a mourning band.

I don't know anything about this shooting but I'm sad to hear it happened.