Making Sense of Tragedy
Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Third Degree of Truth.
All week, Shannon’s been excited about going to a 15th birthday party tomorrow night. She won’t be going now. Today, the birthday girl committed suicide.
Shannon’s turning everything over in her head right now, trying to wrap her mind around it and apologizes for not being able to let it go long enough to talk about much else, but such is the process of coping. She’s trying to understand. So are all their friends. The question is why…but the question is always why.
We talked about grief, about anger directed at the girl, about life purpose, about the afterlife, about reincarnation, about heaven, about whether those who have passed regret their actions or understand things differently, about how one person or one incident can have such an effect—good or bad—on someone else. About how everything is woven together and there are layers and layers to events and people.
Is this tragedy for nothing? they want to know. Will the girl’s death, while causing so much hurt, have a greater purpose? Will it cause one friend to grow up? Will it cause another to become more focused? Will it simply be forgotten after the years have passed?
I think for Shannon, if anything, this death has cemented her desire for a career in counseling and coaching teens.
When faced with a tragedy we can’t make sense of and no way to make it better, we also cope by looking for anything positive we can find.