Responses to Tragedy

This afternoon I was catching up on another episode of Awake (the fourth episode in the series). In this story line Detective Michael Britten interacts in both of his realities with a woman named Kate who babysat years ago for his now teenage son Rex (who is alive in one reality and dead in the other). In both scenarios Kate lost her sister in a surfing accident, but how she copes and deals with her sister's death and what that means for her life is very different in the two realities.

Towards the end of the episode Detective Britten is debriefing his experience reconnecting with the two versions of Kate. He talks about what he learned from her with his two therapists in the two realities that he is living on the television show.

Male Therapist: "You said that Kate lost her sister, yes?"

Detective Britten: "Yep, she drowned."

Male Therapist: "And from that one loss, you've imagined her life going in two very different directions. What do you make of that?"

Detective Britten: "It's like everything else, things are different, but equally plausible."

Female Therapist: "So if you find it just as realistic that a tragedy can strengthen someone or destroy them, what I'm wondering is what you think it makes it go in one direction or the other?"

I thought this was such an interesting interchange and found the last question that Detective Britten's Female Therapist poses especially fascinating. It is something that I have often pondered over the years that my family and I have dealt with secondary infertility and loss, especially in light of the death of our daughter Molly four years ago.

Though I have had some very rough times grieving and coping with our early pregnancy losses and the passing of our baby girl, overall I feel that I have emerged from those tragedies a stronger and more compassionate woman, wife, mother, friend and human being.

However, I have also known people who have been down similar paths through infertility and loss or have faced other heartbreaking tragedies who for many reasons have struggled to find silver linings in their experiences.

I am curious to know what you think about this.

If you agree that "a tragedy can strengthen someone or destroy them,"

What do you think makes people go in one direction or the other?

How does your personal experience with tragedy impact your perspective on this?

For me, I think a combination of my faith, the love and support of family and friends, participating in therapy, expressing my feelings through writing (especially here on my blog) and connecting with others who "get it" through blogging and a perinatal support group that I attend regularly has helped me to survive and even to thrive throughout my journey through secondary infertility and loss.

I am determined to make good come from the tragedies I have experienced and as one of my support group friends reminds me often, one of our most important our goals in grief work is to try to be "better and not bitter" as we learn to live without the loved ones we have lost.

Cross-posted on my blog: Bereaved and Blessed.


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