Foundation, reminding you that a fully-integrated approach for assisting survivors of
traumatic loss involves a balance of head and heart.
I walked into the hangar and felt the presence of 229 people standing there.
Not just (my husband), but 229 people. I realized in that moment all the
anger that I had been harboring toward the pilot. I realized that as one of
those 229 people who died that night, he did not want to die that night.
I felt his presence there. In that exact moment I forgave him.
Wife of a Swissair 111 Passenger
(As quoted in Handbook for Human Services
‘Compassion Consciousness’ refers to having the capacity to see another’s pain
and suffering as though it were our own, or that of someone with whom we share
a deep personal connection. And the experience of compassion often involves an
element of forgiveness.
Interviews with families where the organization involved followed the HSR™ model
show that those families, and members of the public, are better able to forgive
mistakes made by the company. Doing things like providing information immediately,
assigning employee responders to help with basic needs during the crisis phase of
the tragedy, and expressing they are sorry the accident occurred show that the
organization is prioritizing the needs of the people involved.
The example above involved an accident where families praised the company’s
timely, compassionate response. Interviews with the families across time clearly
showed that forgiveness of the accident came to them more readily than in other
instances where the response was not carried out well.
Interviews with plaintiff attorneys also revealed a change in the settlement process
due to the compassionate response by the company. One attorney who helped
many families with their settlement commented that the absence of anger toward
the airline contributed to a shortened settlement process—thus creating less
emotional issues of the kind that so often complicate an already difficult
Providing information and company support immediately is directly dependent
on a company having a pre-established logistical plan and having sufficient
resources to carry out those plans. Providing a toll-free number for families
that is promptly answered by trained individuals, quickly returning calls to those
who are seeking information about their loved ones, and rapidly mobilizing
resources to where they are needed are all ways to immediately empower
survivors and to accomplish the goal of providing an environment where
survivors have the best opportunity to begin the healing process.
This type of immediate empowerment goes a long way in helping survivors have
compassion for the company and move toward forgiveness for mistakes made,
whether the errors led to the tragedy or occurred during the response.
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Aviem & Family Assistance Foundation
555 North Pont Center East, Suite 400
Alpharetta, GA 30022
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