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Mass grieving

After 58 concert-goers were shot dead and more than 500 injured at a country music festival in Las Vegas by the premeditated, evil actions of a man staying at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, I’ll admit I struggled getting into a frame of mind to research “trends.”

Feeling somber, I started to take note of how every conversation and conference call involved discussions relating to the shooting, along with sadness and mourning. And it was for this reason I felt a strong desire to look into the extremely dark, in-the-moment trend of “mass grieving.”

The post-Vegas grieving process has run the gamut, with ongoing conversations ranging from gun control, the mystery behind the killer, what could have been done differently with hotel security and the repetitive conversation of terrorism, to name a few.  But I’m not here to talk about these specifics.

Seven days after a tragedy so intense it simply cannot be explained, I attempted to research and put thoughts to a keyboard about the emotional impact of incidental sadness and how we might possibly move on.

In the aftermath of any mass shooting, it’s a natural reaction to experience a vast range of emotions including shock, fear, anger, sorrow and something referred to as “numbing out.” When emotions reach this intensity, it is not uncommon for those affected to ramble about the incident, experience trouble sleeping, concentrating, eating or just remembering things in general.

Digital camaraderie has also entered the modern grieving process, and for many it’s become a gift. Sad-faced emojis have been filling screens and for many, digitally bonding is another way to release the situational sadness.

While some will move on using a defense of denial or depersonalization, others may never fully escape the emotional aftermath of the Vegas massacre. Many will actually avoid the stress-inducing possibility of another plot potentially hiding in the wings by altering their lifestyle and opting out of attending large-scale events.

Mourning and grief advisors strongly encourage employers and individuals to take a mental inventory of how we spend our time and to make sure we’re investing in “what is important.” Give yourself permission to allow the tragedy to push you forward by giving your life more meaning. And the best advice I discovered? The repetitive reminder that often in life “in order to get through it, you have to go through it.”

Together we will love, and in the aftermath of this unfathomable incident, we will certainly never forget.  

LIVE big and LOVE strong.

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