Foundation, reminding you that a fully-integrated approach for assisting surivivors of
traumatic loss involves a balance of head and heart.
"To everything, turn, turn, turn,
There is a season, turn, turn, turn,
And a time for every purpose under Heaven…"
Pete Seeger, American Folk Singer
Pete Seeger wrote the song popularly known as “Turn! Turn! Turn!” in the 1950s
and The Byrds’ version became an international hit in 1965. Except for the title
and final verse, the lyrics are taken directly from the Christian Bible’s Book of
Toward the end of a memorial service for multiple family members who died
in an air disaster, friends and relatives were invited to share about those who
had perished. A young man approached the lectern to speak. The family
members did not recognize him, so they assumed he was a friend they had
not met before. They were shocked when he said he worked for the airline,
and that while he did not know the deceased, he wanted everyone to know
that his company was also grieving because they too had lost so many of their
own employees and family members. He went on to ask for everyone to have
compassion for him and for the company, as well as the passengers.
Understandably, this angered the family who had gathered to honor and
remember their loved ones. They did not feel it was the right time or place
for him to express his own grief, and they were correct.
It’s true that a disaster touches everyone associated with it, but as the verses
to Pete Seeger’s song remind us, we must always remember to choose the
appropriate time, place, and people when expressing our personal feelings.
“The ripples go far and wide.”
A well-developed family assistance plan must include programs designed to
allow employees to express their emotions about their own losses and the
company’s. Reminding responders about services available through the
organization’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP), and other resources
that provide counseling and support for them, can prove invaluable in helping
those involved to separate their own feelings of grief from their role in offering
support to those they are assisting.
Employee responders should also receive training that evokes enough emotion,
in the safety of the classroom environment, to educate them about what to
expect from themselves and others. This illustrates just one of the many
reasons our training includes case studies based on actual tragedies and moving
interviews with real-world survivors and family members. The curriculum
should also cover how responders can take care of themselves during and following
a response and how to access support.
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Aviem & Family Assistance Foundation
555 North Pont Center East, Suite 400
Alpharetta, GA 30022
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