Feeling Through the Unthinkable
The Tragic Dallas Shootings of July 7, 2016
Shocked? Angry? Devastated? Hopeless? These are only a few of the wide-ranging emotions you may be feeling in the aftermath of such a tragic moment in history. Last night, on July 7, 2016, Dallas witnessed and fell prey to another of the many senseless and traumatic acts of violence our country is continuing to face. Human life was once again diminished into something that could be easily thrown away with yesterday’s trash leaving a trail of life-long devastation for families, friends, and any and all of the caring hearts that are grieving today.
What do we do…as a friend, as a community, as a nation? How do we move forward, and how do we grieve? The answer is easy and complicated all at the same time. Feel what you feel. In the next few days, weeks, and years, you (and I) will feel more emotions than we ever knew possible. Some we will understand, but some we will not. We won’t know why we get uncontrollably angry one second and are filled with excruciating despair the next. One minute, we will be filled with rage at a shooter who could so easily take lives with promise and purpose, yet in the next breath, we will not be able to peel ourselves off the floor.
Let yourself feel. Don’t try to put it in a box, cover it up with the most comfortable emotion, or find a coping mechanism that helps you forget it all. Those feelings are incredibly important and have power to help you move through the grief. You will feel another emotion if you just allow yourself to lean into whichever one you are currently experiencing. If anger is the top of your list, dig. Try to figure out what’s underneath it. It’s often so much easier to be angry than hurt, devastated, fearful, or in pain. Yet those emotions are the ones we really need to lean into in order to heal.
Look, no one wants to feel this devastation. We want to move quickly past that part so we can feel a more positive emotion. It’s human nature to want to push that feeling out and get to the happy. But, that emotion still lives inside even if we don’t give credit to it right now. That emotion won’t allow us to be truly happy and thrive again until we let it out…breathe it, voice it, cry it through.
I know what I’m asking you to do is difficult. It’s not easy to step into that terrifying place, but it is freeing on the other side. The heaviness you feel right now is significant and important. It deserves every emotion that comes up inside of you, and none of the emotion you feel through this is wrong. Try not to set a time limit on this, and please don’t judge yourself. You’re a human being that is going through a more difficult and profound event than we ever wanted to imagine.
Hug your family, friends, and neighbors tightly tonight. Process this with them – let it all out, and lean on each other. We are here and grieving right along beside of you.
Officer Patrick Zamarippa
Officer Brent Thompson
Officer Michael Smith
Officer Michael Krol
Officer Lorne Ahrens