By Anna Raab, M.A., BCN, Abundant Living Neurofeedback and Counseling

This article is dedicated to the victims and survivors of the recent I-35 tragedy.

I write this with tears and a pure heart hoping to say something that will help give words of comfort to anyone who has or is experiencing the unthinkable.   I am a 41-year-old mother of a blended family with 5 children.  I drive a seven seat SUV that is constantly full of children.  When I told my husband about the tragedy on I 35 he immediately got sick.  It could have been us.  It is a nightmare beyond nightmares.  It is beyond comprehension, so it is with deep respect and overwhelming empathy that I write and dedicate this article to those personally affected by this tragedy.

As I have prayerfully considered what to say, my friend Karen recently posted about the grief of her father’s loss.  It resonated so powerfully that I asked permission to quote her.

I remember crying until I was physically sick.  Feeling like my heart was going to burst out of my chest… hoping it would so I could just get the indescribable pain out of me.  And anger… much of it misplaced.  In the blurry days that followed, I so often wanted to scream, ‘YOU DON’T KNOW HOW THIS FEELS, QUIT TRYING TO COMFORT ME,’ even though I deeply needed every single word of comfort I received.  I didn’t think I would ever stop feeling anything other than mind-numbing pain.  And here’s the thing, the pain didn’t stop. I got stronger.  I learned to cope.  This is what I now know to be true:  You have to open yourself up to the people who refuse to let the darkness consume you.

Karen, thank you for your vulnerability and honesty.  The truth is, the pain never stops with losses like these, it only gets bearable as we allow others to love us and help carry our pain.

When the wounds of tragedy are so fresh and deep for those we love, we fear saying anything and yet, we fear saying nothing at all.  When the unthinkable happens, we desperately want to help but often worry about doing or saying the wrong thing.  However, in times like these people desperately need to know that we care, even though they may also feel that no one could ever care enough; no one could possibly understand their grief and unrelenting pain.  In many cases they are right, especially in cases like these. All we can do is love unconditionally, without questions, without expectations, and long past the aftermath.

If you are one of those personally affected by this recent tragedy, please know you are loved beyond what you could ever know. Thousands who you will never meet have wept with you.  Our hearts break with you and we pray for peace that surpasses knowledge to consume you as you grieve.  We hold our own closer and love deeper in honor of you.

For help finding grief assistance in your area please call 918-933-4455.