Together with the rest of humanity, we share the sorrow of the people of Haiti and their loved ones wherever they are.
Over the past weeks I have reflected on this tragedy from the perspective of a thanatologist, a hospice nurse, a mom, and a neighbour. Each of these perspectives brings me new thoughts, new questions, and new wonder about how the community is coping, and what they have yet to face.
I am sure that through the rubble, stories of sorrow and stories of triumph will emerge. My concern is for those stories that are not told, not held, and not shared.
Stephen Lewis spoke at the ADEC (Association for Death Education and Counseling) conference a few years ago. He spoke beautifully, in his passionate way – what an orator! He thanked the “grief counselors” for the work that they do – not only locally but internationally. He concluded with a call to respond to individuals who face tragedy and such significant losses in the international community.
I was intrigued by his call to action. I often wonder what we can do to support those whose grief is far beyond any loss or grief that we can begin to comprehend. I was heartened to hear from his perspective, as one so immersed in the losses experienced in Africa, in particular, that despite cultural and language barriers, there is a need for our skills.
As nations reach out to help Haitians rebuild, individuals experienced with grief and death can help survivors face life.
It's not going too far to note that Stephen Lewis is one of the country', and I would like to say, the world's finest speakers. I was pleased to see his involvement on the grief side. Haiti and the stories of Haiti are drawing me in. You will remember the article you shared with me of a situation after Katrina, in the New Orleans hospital. I cannot imagine the stories of trauma, neglect and horribly inhumane deaths that Haiti's crisis will reveal.
I had not thought of that article, or the very grim realities of ethical decision making that was faced following Hurricane Katrina in the context of the disaster in Haiti. I wonder what the Haitian experience was in making those difficult ethical decisions.