Dear Tree of Life Synagogue
Dear Tree of Life Synagogue,
I am sending you the peace I have learned to find. I pray you seek it, too, in time, in your own time.
The pain, sorrow and fogginess that is overwhelming you now will overwhelm you for longer than you like or expect.
Processing the fact that blood was shed in a violent way, taking the lives of your loved one takes effort on your part, not just time. Seeking help from mental health professionals can offer you significant value after such a significant trauma. The ripple effect of fear, trepidation and anxiety will run through your families, please be aware you will need to address them for years, not just months.
Allow the tears to flow.
When our hearts fill to the brim with sorrow, they need to empty with the spilling of tears. You will feel as if there could be no more tears, and yet, there are.
The transitions you make for the rest of your lives will be due to the evil that occurred in your place of worship on October 27, 2018. A date you will repeat to others in your journey as you try to explain why tears appear, seemingly out of nowhere, for months and years on end.
Today and for the next several months, accept help from family and friends to feed you, drive you, do your laundry, hold your hand, give you deep and long lasting hugs, get your mail, walk your dog, feed your pets and care for you like an infant. Trauma such as this takes us into an infant stage and significant care is needed while we learn to breathe and walk on our own, again.
If you don’t already write in a journal, I ask you to try it. Writing out all the feelings that consume you, leave you wracking in pain on the floor and offer you a glimmer of a smile with a heartfelt memory will cleanse your soul. This is a place where you can escape and write all the thoughts you might not share with another human, but you can share them with God. He is listening.
About God. Sometimes evil wins. On October 27, 2018, evil won. God was there. Crying for His children, not ignoring them. I like to think He took them quickly by their hands to Heaven. God is with you, too. You can find Him in prayer, in song, in the tearful smiles that are offered to you as others ache so strongly and don’t know what to say. Give them a chance to share their story. Many of the stories you hear from others about where they were when the shooting happened, the miracle of them not being a victim and the heroic, caring and loving actions that took place can sometimes hurt you…sometimes provide joy. Give them all a chance to share, in your own time. You will find the joy will begin to seep into your life from the love of others.
We are connected through stories, communication about ourselves and sharing with others. We grieve through telling stories, sharing our commonalities and our differences. Welcome the idea of sharing your stories with others.
There is no place for hate and evil in our world.
From my heart to yours and from our foundation, Faith Always Wins – we offer Kindness, Faith and Healing to all of you. I am four years from the same horrific type of crime that took my father and son and then Terri LaManno. I know how you feel and I am so very sorry for the new path you will be taking without your loved ones.
Please know we are available to help you grieve, pick up the pieces, find joy, find purpose and find the good that will come from this.
In faith, love and hope,