How do you recover from a violent loss?

It’s hard enough to lose a loved one, but does knowing that they died in a senseless, violent way make it harder for those left behind.  A number of you have been responding to Lubna, since she wrote to us about her neighbour Ali being killed by a bomb. It followed her almost being killed herself, by a roadside bomb a few days earlier. Some of you have written about how you’ve dealt with extreme trauma, and we’d like to pick up on this.

Rory describes this experience… ‘Dearest Lubna. My heart goes out to you. Such a loss – not only to you- to your country- to all of our common futures all over the world. When I was a young man, growing up in Zimbabwe, I had a terrible experience. A young man thought he would get rid of a grenade to be safe for others. It blew up in his face and at the age of 23, this young man breathed his last in my arms.’

How can people best deal with such extreme experiences?   We’d like to hear from you..

10 Responses to “How do you recover from a violent loss?”

  1. 1 Ros Atkins
    March 10, 2008 at 16:05

    My Precious Ros: 1st of all THANKS A MILLION for all what all of you guys have been doing so far to support me and my Iraq’s cause. I do really owe each of you guys alot, alot. You know what Aras, when you go through so many horrific experiences within a short period of time, then all your feelings will start to get depleted and because your heart is already bearing so many scars so there’ll be no place for a new scar. So you’ll be just numb, struggling to feel anything at all, trying to ignore the fact that a piece of your heart has already died, gone with your loved ones who have gone and left you behind. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  2. 2 George USA
    March 10, 2008 at 16:11

    Working in disasters: hurricanes, earthquakes, floods and in areas of conflict:

    When stressed out totally-

    sing hymns as a group

    laugh until you are rolling on the ground

    take a sleeping bag, MRE’s and a good book- go hide and sleep, eat, relax for 48 hours

    read the Bible each day for inspiration and wisdom

    get wet- shower, swim, or bucket bath

    break a sweat- any vigorous exercise makes you feel better and changes your body chemistry and mood

    When you are done, you are done- when you can no longer recuperate with the above, get out of Dodge.

  3. 3 viola anderson
    March 10, 2008 at 16:13

    I read a book a long time ago about, or maybe it was by, Bruno Bettelheim, a pioneer in the treatment of autism, who commented on his experience as an inmate in a WWII concentration camp. He had to never forget and he had to acknowledge the humanity of the guards even in those worst of times. It was what allowed him to keep his own humanity and it was what helped him to survive. While an inmate, he noticed that many of the other inmates exhibited the same characteristics as autistic children and he carried these insights into his life’s work. Lubna is living in such a crucible. If she can survive with her kind nature and humanity intact, she will be equipped to do enormous good.

  4. 4 Rory
    March 10, 2008 at 16:51

    Dearest Lubna
    Hang in there….. And write. It will help – us – and you.

  5. March 10, 2008 at 17:07

    Hi Precious Rory. Thanks so much my good friend. It’s really hard to find any words to say to you. What you’ve been through must have been really horrific. You keep writing too please. Also thanks so much to all WHYS amazing listeners, all of them with no exceptions. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  6. 6 zainab
    March 12, 2008 at 04:00

    (Dear Lubna, all your comments are so meaningful, thank you. please take care of yourself, and of your study i know your study is too difficult, but inshaAllah you can pass it)
    well, one can get out of the extreme experiences only by believing in Allah, and believing that there is GOOD more than bad things in the world. and by looking forward, and being optimistic.
    In 2005, i’ve passed a very bad experience, my two brothers have been kidnapped, of course it was a very difficult situation, for me and for my family especially for my father and mother, it was as if losing everything, for no reason, the kidnapping has continued for 10 days, as if 10 years.And because we believe in Allah so strongly, He kept my brothers, and got them back to us safely.
    But after that i’ve decided to quit my study, because i thought that it is meaningless to study in such situations where one can go to college(school, work …etc.) without knowing whether he will back to his dearest ones or not.
    spending a year at home did not stop kidnapping or bomb cars or anything, it is just that i’ve lost a year of my life.
    i prayed to Allah to help me, and He did. i came closer to my family members, i listened to their advices, they encouraged me a lot and pushed me forward to back to my study,and here i am an MA student.

  7. 7 Miriam
    March 12, 2008 at 16:39

    Hello. My name is Miriam and left my home in London last August to come and study at a Jewish Seminay in Jerusalem for my gap year, before I return to study medicine at King’s College London.

    My seminary is situated a mere 15 minutes for Mercaz Ha’rav Yeshiva where, last Thrusday night a man from East Jerusalem shot dead 8 young students, leaving many more injured. It’s deeply shocking when something like this happens so close to you.

    Among the religious comunity in Israel, one of our first reactions was prayer. We recited Psalms, begging God for peace,for salvation. “From the depths I cry out to You” (Psalms 130). We prayed, hoping that our cries would both ascend to heaven, and be internalised, would help us to ovecome our current grief and distress. Most importantly, we prayed together.

    Less than 24 hours after the shooting, SMS messages were being sent all around Israel and the Jewish world, listing the names of those injured and asking for prayers to be said on their behalf. Our prayers are not simply therapeutic – they are an expression of our belief that we as a people can turn to God, confident that He is listening and will respond.

    As an observer, someone slightly removed from this deeply religious, close knit Israeli society, I was awed and inspired by this reaction, and joined with them in the most heartfelt of prayers, begging for redemption from the curent state of affairs.

  8. March 13, 2008 at 17:27

    Hi to all of you my precious friends. And a special hi to you Miriam. I do have some few words to say to you. If anyone asks me : What’s your most favourite text of the holy Quran ?! Then I’ll answer without any hesitation : (من أحياها فكأنما أحيا الناس جميعا)‏. And it means : “The one who brings life back to one human being, as if he brought life back to all human beings”. It was that text that really inspired me to go into the medical school in the 1st place. Human life is sacred Miriam, anywhere in the world. The murdering of innocent civilians anywhere in the world is a very serious mistake that can NEVER be justified, NEVER. The game of finding justifications for murdering innocent civilians anywhere in the world is a very dangerous game. Miriam, I condemn strongly the horrific shooting incident in Al Quds. And I also strongly condemn the horrific murdering of innocent Palestinian civilians including little children in Gaza. Because anywhere in the world the value of human life is the same, sacred and respected. Thank you Miriam and lots of love to you. And to Zainab and Rory I say : Thanks a million to you guys. A warm feeling overwhelmed me when I read your comments. And thanks a million to Goerge and viola. With my love. Yours forever, Lubna.

  9. 9 Pinchas
    March 18, 2008 at 16:36

    Dear Lubna,
    It must have been horrible being caught in the attack you describe and of course you are right to say that murdering innocent civillians can never be justified no matter what the reason. I am puzzled though why you link the cold blooded murders in Jerusalem with the deaths of Palestinians. In the one case these were boys sitting in a house of study with no combatant intentions whatever. In the other soldiers, acting on the instructions of their government were using Palestinian women and children as human shields to launch more than 3,000 missiles aimed at other innocent civilians. If the rockets stopped, so would the defensive response of the Israelis. As Miriam so eloquently said, Israelis simply want peace. Stop firing rockets and they will leave the Palestinians alone.

  10. 10 Miriam
    March 18, 2008 at 20:16

    Lubna,I join with you wholeheartedly in condemning the murder of innocent people, wherever they happen to live; and therefore feel confident that you will join me in my condemnation of the mass celebrations involving both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in the wake of the Jerusalem shootings.

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