Tragedy in Orlando – What Do Parents Tell Their Teens?
Yet another tragedy rocks America, and as a parent, my heart is just filled with so much physical pain at the senseless slaying of so many innocent people in Orlando. People who were minding their own business and simply living their lives, doing what teens and young adults want to do. You almost want to hug your kids and never let them go. I’m torn between being glued to the TV to find out all the details and being so sad and overwhelmed that I barely what to know the facts.
How does a parent deal with so much sorrow and pain? How do you find closure when you know your child was killed for no good reason? In the face of such tragedy, words can’t even express the pain and disbelief that parents must go through, and the anxiety for some of not even knowing what happened to their children.
And yet, in these difficult times we see the depth of love and caring normal human beings have for each other. On the TV this morning, the reporters talked about how people had lined up to donate blood and how much money the “go fund me pages” had raised. This does not in any way erase or soften the magnitude of the slaying which occurred but it shows us that love truly overcomes everything, and that most people have concern and love for their fellow human beings.
As parents, we really have to watch how we express our emotions to our teens. Yes, we want to express all the sheer horror and senselessness of what happened in Orlando but at the same time, we have to be careful we don’t express hate and teach our children to do the same.
I often wonder what goes through the mind of someone who can inflict such terror and disaster on others and I know there are no good reasons. As in other instances of mass shootings, the perpetrator is dead so we will never understand and perhaps even if he lived we would not understand anyway. Nothing can justify or pardon what he did.
Somehow, life must go on. We parents must constantly show our teens how we love them and pay attention to changes in their behavior or who they hang out with or if they become overly secretive. Looking back at some of the other tragedies that have rocked the world in general, some parents have admitted they missed the warning signs. Other people in these perpetrators’ lives sometimes realize all is not well but simply don’t know what to say or do about it. Perhaps we have to become more of our neighbor’s keepers and act when we think something is seriously amiss. Please pray for people like this perpetrator who spew so much hate to be stopped before they can act on their emotions.
How does one move forward after such tragedy? I truly can’t even imagine how the parents and siblings and friends of those who were slain or injured even make it from one day to the next. Or, how the injured victims themselves feel and the anxiety that they will have to work through for the rest of their lives. People’s lives will be forever changed.
Yet, a lot of good has been borne from such tragedy. People forget about self-preservation and reach out to help others. Some people decide they are not going to become victims, and decide they will become stronger people who make a difference and try to prevent this tragedy from happening again. The country as a whole comes together to mourn and support each other. The outpouring of love from other countries is a testament to the simple fact there is more good left in people than evil.
As much as words cannot express the sorrow or pain one feels, my heartfelt sympathy and love goes out to all those who were affected by this tragedy. May the good Lord himself reach out and comfort you in your pain, and give you the grace and strength to go on.
Death is the heartache no one can heal,
Memories are keepsakes no one can steal.
Beautiful memories are all we have left,
Of the ones we loved and will never forget.
Softly the leaves of memory fall,
Gently we gather and cherish them all.
Planted deep in memory’s garden
And watered daily with tears,
Memory has a magical way
Of keeping loved ones near.
~Author unknown, grieving poem from the 1950s
“In this sad world of ours sorrow comes to all and it often comes with bitter agony. Perfect relief is not possible except with time. You cannot now believe that you will ever feel better. But this is not true. You are sure to be happy again. Knowing this, truly believing it, will make you less miserable now. I have had enough experience to make this statement.”
― Abraham Lincoln