Sunday 11 December 2016

Answers to what exactly happened won't ease pain

Published 18/06/2015 | 02:30

Philip Grant, consul general of Ireland to the western United States (left), helps Neil Sands, president of the Irish Network Bay Area, lay an Irish flag on two wreaths at the scene of the tragedy in Berkeley. Photo: Reuters
Philip Grant, consul general of Ireland to the western United States (left), helps Neil Sands, president of the Irish Network Bay Area, lay an Irish flag on two wreaths at the scene of the tragedy in Berkeley. Photo: Reuters

I listened to my wife describing the awful tragedy that was emerging in Berkeley, California, and I was hit with such a feeling of anxiety and sadness that I didn't say anything for a while. Indeed, my wife wondered if I had even heard her.

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I was a bit taken aback by the strength of my own emotional response. I am often faced with families' powerful feelings and traumas, but the closer their experiences match my own experiences as a parent, the harder I find it to regulate my own instinctive emotional response.

And that is what happened as I listened to my wife. I was immediately and painfully transported to the edge of the shock, horror and grief that a group of Irish parents are experiencing in the aftermath of the terrible accident.

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