Dealing With Grief After The Dallas Shooting

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DALLAS — As we all still try to wrap our heads around the unthinkable tragedy that rocked Dallas Thursday night, a lot of us will be facing down a very real grief process. That’s where mental health professionals like Veronica Sites come in to help us all.

“Two people are not going to have the same feelings, altogether,” said Sites, a victim relief chaplain. “We all have similar emotions. We have sad, anger, a lot of different expressions of the pain that we feel.”

So how do we face down these painful emotions?

“Feel it, and let it go. Here’s why: physiologically your body is wired to detoxify itself,” Sites explained. “When we suppress tears, we are holding in a lot of toxicity that will impact health over the long run.”

And how should parents of young children go through the process with their kids?

“It’s wonderful, it’s healthy, it’s a good process to do this together as a family. However recognize that the risk for the child is that you are their strength, you are their pillar, you are their sense of security.

“Be authentic. If you feel like crying, it’s OK but recognize that your child may want to be strong for you.”

Long term, how can we keep supporting the department and the families as they continue to feel these ramifications?

“Mark your calendar for three, six and nine months from today and do the same kind of outreach that you have heart and compassion to take action on today,” Sites advised.

The healing process will take time for all of us, and much, much longer for others, but we can do it together.

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