Monday, April 22, 2013


Dwell on heroism, not evil, when pondering bombings

Somebody asked me, as a nurse, what my reaction was to the Boston Marathon bombing tragedy. That question gave me pause. My first reaction was fear and horror — are my friends and family safe?

That question gave me pause. My first reaction was fear and horror — are my friends and family safe? My second reaction was to say a fervent prayer for all of the victims, especially the families of the three that were killed, including the 8-year-old boy, whose sister and mother are also hospitalized with serious injuries. It’s unfathomable.

I am always suggesting to people to “look at the positive” in life. But that’s a pretty difficult thing to do when tragedies like those in Newtown or Boston occur within months of each other.

I must admit I watched in admiration as the first responders, and the fire, police and medical professionals, heroically rushed to the aid of the victims. They put their lives on the line to help others without hesitation. How could they be sure that another bomb or assault wasn’t imminent? I have always believed that 99% of people in this world are inherently good, and I’m reminded of that when I see such evidence of how noble, generous, and self-sacrificing people are in the face of tragedy.

So what are some coping mechanisms to help us deal with the recent tragedies?

• Mental health professionals advise us to limit exposure to the media coverage of the tragedy. If there is nothing we can do to help, there is no need to see the same horrific images displayed on the TV over and over again. This is true for adults, but especially children.

• If you have young children, be prepared for them to ask if such violence can occur to them. Do not lie, but repeat that it is very unlikely and that you are there to keep them safe.

• Focus on stories of heroism and generosity to help fortify our belief in humanity.

As we struggle to find meaning in the face of tragedy, perhaps it is the perfect time to reach out to family and friends and tell them how much we appreciate and care for them.

Alice Facente is a community education nurse for the Backus Health System. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Facente or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

Yes. We should also look on the bright side.
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