It's happened again.
A mass shooting in the US, this time in Maine.
We go through the cycle. Again and again.
News flies faster on your social media feed than you can take it in.
Police give what information they can.
And then, we start learning about the loss of innocent lives.
We see their faces, hear about their lives, and watch as their community mourns.
These people sadly become a number.
Communities rally around victim's families and share in their grief.
Then, reporters who shared the community's loss for the world to see slowly started to leave.
The news stops sharing the stories.
And we (supposedly) move on.
I know this all too well as someone who used to work in TV news. That cycle is never-ending. It's understandable because so many news stories need to be covered.
But I can honestly say that it was exhausting to see all this grief and then feel like you're practically burying it.
We can't let grief get caught up in this cycle.
We can't bury grief.
We can't bury the devastation of violence.
But we can talk to our kids about it.
The National Association of School Psychologists has some suggestions for parents on how to talk with children about violence:
Make sure your children know they are safe, and you are here to protect them.
Validate their feelings.
Be patient and watch for clues that your children want to talk.
Limit their television and social media access, which can cause anxiety or confusion for some younger children.
Stick to your regular routine.
Let children know how they can make a positive difference by letting them know about organizations they can support.
Dr. Julie Kaplow from the Meadows Institute also has tips specifically for children under the age of 6 on how to talk with them about a mass shooting. A glaring reminder is for caregivers to also take the time to take care of themselves. "Caregivers should be mindful of their own stress and anxiety levels and ensure they are getting the support they need, whether that means connecting with their own support systems, taking breaks from work or other stressors, or reaching out to a therapist."
Our team at Elizabeth's Smile is here for anyone who could benefit from our resources. The Basics of Grief can help you learn how to tell children someone has died, how children and young people grieve, and how to prepare children for funerals.
We also have a list of external resources available, including non-profits based in the US, book recommendations, and resources for families.
If you need help finding resources to help yourself, your family, or your community, don't hesitate to get in touch with our team. We're here for whatever you may need.
You're not alone in your pain.
You're not alone in your grief.