I, like every right minded person in the universe have been appalled this week with the events on Monday night at the Manchester arena. Although I don’t personally know anyone that was at the concert, Jackie and myself know the venue and have attended an event there with our son. We have also been shopping in the surrounding area during our time in Middlewich. I like many others sat and watched with horror as the details rolled out on the news channels over the next hours and days. In conversations since the consensus seems to be ‘there but for the grace of god…’ 21,000 people were at the sold out concert with lots of parents outside waiting to pick up their kids. It could have been any one of us and thats a really scary thought. There is also a very good chance you or someone close to you knew someone there on the night. Even if that is not the case, there cannot be many that haven’t at least been to or worked in Manchester for one reason or another and have a link that way. All this means is there is probably not one of us that isn’t in some way or at some level grieving for the victims of that deranged lunatic. Grief is a strange thing and it effects us all differently. It is hard enough for adults to cope with things in this life let alone our kids.
The tragic event didn’t really show up in our own sons life until Thursday this week when the whole of his school had an assembly on the matter and even then I am not sure how much he has taken it in. There are those though who are deeply traumatised by the whole thing. A girl at the school has been in tears for days and is wrecked by the whole thing as she went to a prior school with one of the girls that died. It is inevitable that our our kids will be effected by events such as this depending on their level of involvement. Of course, whether we will be aware of their feelings is another matter.
There are some perhaps unexpected things that have come out of the event. Human beings are pretty amazing. As well as the outpouring of grief there is the coming together of people, groups, crowds up to almost the whole country in unity against those that would try and hurt us and those around us. The mounds of flowers and tributes near the scene, rival football teams tweeting messages of unity, it was almost like the world stopped with the minute of silence on Thursday morning. I have to tell you personally I am amazed at the ability for some to forgive, I couldn’t. My point is we all feel different emotions.
So why am I writing this article? I suppose it comes down to a little self healing, however it is more than that. Two days after the attack I was watching a news channel and saw a report about a Manchester school and how they were dealing with their children. I don’t remember the name of the school and it’s not really that important. What is important is how well they were handling it. A proper school assembly and then classes were broken down into small groups to talk about all its aspects and how they felt. This is not the first tragedy our country has encountered and unfortunately it is unlikely to be the last. Is it therefore not our duty to teach our kids about these things?
Firstly there is the aspect of grief. For some it will not show up on their radar for others it will be intense. There is an argument that for the first perhaps it is a case of let sleeping dogs lie, don’t talk about it and perhaps they just don’t need to know. However how do we know what they are thinking? There is only one way to find out. The kids (and adults) in our group are often more sensitive and / or fragile than many other children. Some thought needs to be used before even bringing up the subject. Every person is different and so is the way they are going to react. For those going through more intense mental anguish the signs are more obvious and perhaps it is easier to broach the subject and talk about it. Either way talk (done the right way) is ALWAYS the answer to a better long term reduction of the stress and happening such as this can induce.
There are many ways to help ourselves, our kids and other members of this group. If you or yours is hurting over this or any other matters look for another member of the group to have a chat with. That can be through our Facebook page, our Twitter link, our group get togethers, emails and more. But what happens when there is no one there or its the middle of the night and there is just no-one to reach out to? I was really impressed by a young lady (ten or so I guess) in one of the news items who had a great idea. When interviewed she said “Whenever I am upset I go and ask my Mum, we talk and things get better. Sometimes though if she isn’t there or if she is asleep and I don’t want to wake her up I have to have something else. At the end of my bed is my ‘worry teddy’. All I do is to write my worry down on a piece of paper, undo the zip in his belly and I put my worry in there. I feel better then, its like he ate the worry and made it smaller”. There are loads of ways to cope and perhaps this might help someone you know.
Secondly there is the aspect of danger. We don’t just need to teach our kids how to cross the road now. We routinely teach them about stranger danger and hazards online. It may be a little over the top but perhaps we need to teach our kids just a little about terrorist attacks. It is amazing what humans will do when panic sets in. There was video being shown of blind panic and people jumping over rails to get away in the Manchester arena. Some were hurt due to just this. As it turns out the panic was for no reason. All I am saying here is perhaps a little conversation might help when trouble happens in the future. Its a bit like learning how to resuscitate someone, as a member of the general public it is highly unlikely you will ever need the skill but it just might save a life one day. Since the days of the IRA bombings where everyone was advised to watch out for suspicious packages society has become a little complacent. Is this a thing we should now take more seriously again?
There are many other emotions that can be brought to the surface when disasters happen Stress, Anxiety, Dread to name just a few. To withdraw into oneself is rarely the answer. Psychologists know that talking is almost always the answer and that is part of the point of MiddlewichAnn. This article is supposed to be a talking point and to be thought provoking. If you have something to say make a comment, use our forum or Facebook page. we want your input, it just might help others in the group.
Finally as they used to say at the end of the old Crimewatch shows “Don’t worry, crime of this nature is rare and the chances of being involved are remote”. These things should be thought about but we mustn’t let them rule our lives otherwise these religious ‘losers’ win and we just can’t let that happen!
Here are some other resources that might help if you are looking for information from outside the group. If you know of others help the group and let us know.
Winstons Wish – For bereaved children and their families.
National Alliance for Grieving Children (USA based but has some interesting info).