Italian Tragedy Touches All of Us

The recent tragedy in Italy when the cruise ship sank and many people died touches all of us in so many ways.

My girlfriend and I spent New Year’s on a cruise, and it was a time of joy and a experience of happiness.

So too were the hopes and desires of all the families who decided to vacation on their cruise, only to have it turn out to be their worst nightmare. Death is always part of life; often it is expected, such as after the culmination of a long term illness.

This was not the case for the crew and passengers of the cruise ship in Italy. What was supposed to be a joyous and happy time for thousands of people’s lives turned into their worst nightmare. Dying in a time of expected happiness was not the plan or desire of those who lost their lives. Their surviving family members lives are also forever transformed.

Those who survived have invisible wounds of betrayal of trust in those whose task it was to provide a safe and trusting environment for their anticipated time of rejoicing and enjoying the best experience that life had to offer them at that time.

This disaster touches all of us, whether we knew anyone on that ship or not, whether we have ever taken a cruise or not. When life’s events take a turn that ends in tragedy, we question many things, as well as grieve for people whose live’s we personally know nothing about.

On a deeper level, we can identify with the fact that anyone of us reading this post could have chosen to sail on that cruise ship; or had experiences where joy turns into tragedy.

Disasters occur. Earthquakes, tornados, floods kill people who had no expectation of death and whose families go on with the wound deeply embedded in their souls for a lifetime. This tragedy reminds us all that life is never as safe as we as children believed it was. We expect fathers and mothers to protect us from the dangers ‘out there’ in the ‘real’ world. Life is supposed to be safe. Bad things are not supposed to happen to good people, but as this tragedy shows us once again, it happens all too often.

Our reader’s know this fact all too well, each in our own way, each of us having suffered losses that were not ‘fair’ at all.

To the family members of the deceased, may they cherish the lives of the loved one’s they lost as they take all the time necessary for their greiving; for the family members of those whose bodies have not yet been found, may you find hope in knowing that their loved one’s will always remain in their hearts and slowly, very slowly will the joy of the experience of the love of their beloved begin to take shape over the grief and uncertainty of the moment, whether there is a body to bury or not.

To the survivors of the tragedy who lost more than their material possessions, may they once again realize that life is filled with uncertainties, that safety and trust need to be earned, that life is always worth living and that may they begin to resume a life filled with knowledge that this horrible tragedy has taught them a lesson – to appreciate each and every day of life fully.

Richard Beck 2012

Richard Beck

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RICHARD BECK, LCSW, BCD, CGP, FAGPA is an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Social Work, and a psychotherapist in Private Practice in New York City, with expertise in treating trauma and working with individuals, couples and groups. Richard both trains and treats therapists who work with trauma. After the events of 9/11 and the Hurricanes of 2004, Richard conducted well over 1000 hours of trauma groups with survivors, their families, witnesses and rescue workers. He continues to lecture, teach and lead demonstration groups throughout the country, dealing with trauma and the importance of groups following a traumatic event and loss.. Richard recently published the “Unique Benefit of Group following Traumatic Events“, and co-authored an American Group Psychotherapy Association Trauma Protocol entitled “Lesson’s Learned in Working with Witnesses, Survivors and Family Members after Traumatic Events”. Richard and co-author Bonnie Buchele, Ph.D., were awarded the 2007 Alonso Award for Excellence in Psychodynamic Group Theory. Fishing all over the world continues to be one of Richard’s passions along with “his boys,” Jack and Max. Richard was a guest expert on the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart, discussing Recovering From a Traumatic Event, to hear his interview with Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley. click on the following link: www.voiceamericapd.com/health/010157/horsley100908.mp3tr

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