SLIDER

Life Changing Events

Wednesday, October 6, 2010
It's a month since the Earthquake and we are still dealing with one of our children who is more than a little traumatized. My husband Robin and I were talking about this yesterday and how we are going to best help this child through it.  There are many different approaches to this.

At first I took the approach of, well - we now know what it feels like to be in a large earthquake. If it ever happens again in your lifetime, kids - you'll now exactly what to do, won't you? Then taking them through the whole escape plan thing - trying to down-play the fear - putting the power back into their hands.
This approach worked well for two of my children.

The other approach was to read the children from The Listener how one geologist said that it all depends what type of soil your house is built on, as to how your house will cope in an earth-shattering event. He suggested digging a hole a metre deep next to your house to have a look. If it's sandy, or loamy, or silty - then you could be in trouble. If it's rock, or stone or clay, then you should be ok. That little lessen resulted in three of my children digging a very large hole in the back yard - and proving to us all that we have a difficult time growing a garden because we have very stony, clay soil. But that's good in an earthquake, right!

But still, one of my children has a hard time at night. I think it's because the main earthquake came as such a surprise when we were all tucked up in a place which you connect with security and safety, but also a place where you are at your most vulnerable. Bed. And because we often seem to get the largest aftershocks late at night or early in the morning - or so it seems. Perhaps it's just because we're not moving around, busy doing this and that, and you notice them more, because you're resting.

So . . . what to do? I don't know. We're just giving lots of reassurance, lots of walking around the house checking things, pointing out that the roof is strong, that the house is strong, lots of sleeping on the floor in our room or with other siblings.

Robin and I talked about the 'worst case scenario' thing and whether that would be a good approach with this child. But I don't think so. It doesn't work for me - in fact it makes things worse for me, because sometimes the worst case can happen. It's not impossible. And I don't think this child would find it helpful. In the middle of last night this child's Dad said, "the roof is not going to fall down." And the child answered, "but how do you know that for sure?" No. I don't think the worst-case scenario would be a good idea.

It's funny how these dramatic, once-in-a-lifetime events can change your whole entire outlook on the world, on your world, on how you approach things. Unless you have been through a life-threatening event, it's difficult for anyone to understand it. The fear with the earthquake is that it will happen again. The worst-case scenario with that is that the roof will collapse on top of you. So you start thinking about that and wondering if it happened again, will the roof hold? Will I be somewhere safe?

This is the first real, life-threatening event that my husband has been through in his lifetime. Sure, he's been through some traumatic times, losing his mother and father while reasonably young, having a child in medical danger, and other events, but nothing in which his life was threatened or his well-being. He and I have often laughed at my pessimistic view on some things, but I have always said to him that my worst-case scenario/overactive imagination might one day save his life. I've been telling him that if another big earthquake comes when he is at the office - on the second story of a 3 story building, to get outside, not under his desk. It would be better to risk falling into a land fissure than having the third story come tumbling down on you while curled up under a flimsy office desk. It has got him thinking, and talking with some of his colleagues. What do you think? If outside access is easy, and quick, what would you do?

This is my third life-altering experience, and suddenly I start to recognize the same symptoms in my husband and children. And it is like a light has gone on in my husband as to why I react the way I do in certain circumstances. Why I am afraid of flying. Why I am paranoid about losing my baby in the first 3-4 months of pregnancy. Why I always think worst-case scenario. It's probably a case of post-traumatic stress syndrome, but then so many other people go through so many worse experiences. I can deal with the trauma, recognize it for what it is and learn to live with it as part of my life experience, and lessons God has seen fit to bring along my way. It's recognizing a vulnerability in yourself. An awareness of your mortality and the mortality of everything around you. Nothing lasts forever - and learning to embrace the joy and pleasures and security, and life of today and taking no thought (seriously) of tomorrow or what might come.

For me, the three life changing events I have experienced have taught me that every day is precious.
Every human encounter is interesting.
Every person on this earth has struggles.
Every life is is beautiful.
Every moment of life is priceless.
Joy can be found everyday.
Make the most of all experiences.
Pleasure is even in the midst of the mundane.
Learning to live without regret.

3 comments :

Clara said...

This may or may not be helpful for you, depending what your children are like... My little family and I have been in a few nasty situations where we/they thought we might not make it, and it has produced a fear in my children. The way we deal with it is to explain to the children that the worst that could happen to us is also the best thing that could happen to us - they have an understanding of God's will and so we tell them if it is God's will, then He will take us Home to be with Him in heaven (worst case is best case)... But if not, then He is here *with* us in whatever happens in the world, too. For some reason, that satisfies my children - they WANT to go to heaven when it is their time (their Grandma is waiting in heaven for them; that helps too). Even when things are not bad, we talk often about God being here with us, beside us, so they find it comforting to remember that. But like I said, it depends on the child as to whether that would work...

momentsofwhimsy said...

Praying for your little one Rachel. It's a big thing for them to deal with (bad enough for the adults!)

Leanne said...

I was thinking of you yesterday & wondered if you were open to giving the child some Bach remedy

http://www.bachflower.com/7_Groups.htm

http://www.bachcentre.com/centre/remedies.htm

One of my biggest fears is earthquakes - I really would be a mess esp with all the aftershocks. ((HUGS)))
.
Every human encounter is interesting.
Every person on this earth has struggles.
Every life is is beautiful.
Every moment of life is priceless.
Joy can be found everyday.
Make the most of all experiences.
Pleasure is even in the midst of the mundane.
Learning to live without regret.
you said it all soo well!

Love Leanne

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