Grieving and Moving Forward: A Comment on the Washington DC Naval Yard Tragedy

For those of you who pay attention to the news, I’m sure you have all heard about the recent tragic events occurring in Washington DC, Monday, September 16. A former Navy reservist busted into the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 and injuring 8 people in a mass shooting, at what was understood to be a secure military facility.

While the primary suspect was apprehended and killed by police gunfire, the trauma still lingers for witnesses and families of the victims. Also, the delicate disposition of the American people has been, once again, flipped on its head and fraught with tragedy, due to acts of terrorism and senseless violence.

From Columbine, to Virginia Tech, to Sandy Hook Elementary, to the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting, and even earlier this year with the Boston Marathon Bombings, it seems as if nothing in America is sacred and nowhere is safe. This is in part due to the fact that these acts of violence directly violates the fundamental values which define the American Dream, a concept engrained in every American from birth thus creating an expectation for social tolerance and freedom from persecution on every level. Such horrific violations have left all citizens stunned, dumbfounded, distressed, and terrified.

All of us who were fortunate enough to only experience any of these events through the media are experiencing deep feelings of empathy for those directly impacted. It is inevitable that tragedies such as these evoke our own soul-searching journeys. When you see your fellow man suffering, it doesn’t matter who you are, you cannot help but be moved. We want to help those who are suffering, and somehow figure out a way to prevent future tragedies such as these from happening ever again.

There is a difference between moving on and moving forward. Moving on is a rather cold concept that suggests removing, or even forgetting the past incident that warrants moving on from. For anyone who was directly impacted by the recent Naval Yard shootings or any traumatic tragedy such as these, I don’t suggest you move on; instead I suggest you move forward.

When you lose someone precious to you, it is very hard to think of anything else, other then the black hole that has become your heart, but you must continue to live and live well. Honor their memory with your happiness. Start a scholarship, travel the world, do whatever you need to do to bring color to your loved one’s memory. He or She is not gone, nor are you hopeless, if there is this dedication.

We can’t make sense of that tragedy, because the causes for tragedy extend beyond sense. Even if the attacker has a motive, it still doesn’t justify their behavior. We end up plaguing ourselves with more questions. No matter what, grief takes us to the unanswerable. My advice is…don’t let it. Don’t try to make sense of it, because it will only drag yourself down a dark, dismal hole you will have difficulty climbing out of. You can blame it on the God(s), or fate, or psychosis, or coincidence; the important thing is that you face your tomorrow with a certainty that is yours and yours alone.

Whether you were directly affected by these events or witnessed them via the news, remember the words of former US president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, “ The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”. We Americans are tough, we are brave, and the ability to overcome any adversity runs in our blood.

I will help you rise above, I will help you say goodbye, and I will get your life as it is today back to where you want it. I also should mention that for those survivors who have PTSD, I have only respect for your strength. Of course, I don’t have total understanding, because no one can truly understand what you’ve lived through, and it’s insulting for anyone to pretend like they can. However, I do have the skills to help give you your life back- and that’s exactly what I plan to do.

One thought on “Grieving and Moving Forward: A Comment on the Washington DC Naval Yard Tragedy

  1. I just wanted to thank you for this arilcte and ask if there’s anything you would recommend for obsessive thoughts? See I’ve been struggling with these thoughts for about three months now and I’m afraid these thoughts are going to cause me to go into a depression. Please let me know I would appreciate it.

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