For Parents

This Chardon Healing discussion group is a place where you can put words to your trauma and grief. There are three different topic streams – one each for students, parents and staff which will allow you to share your stories, express your feelings and find, as well as, offer support with those who have experienced this same event. We aspire that this will be a place for you to connect, receive coping tips from others who are grieving. We hope that you find this site to be a source of comfort, hope and healing.

For Parents

Postby dscowan » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:57 am

How does a parent manage after the events of 2/27? The place where you thought your children were safe suffered a horrific event. In addition to attending to your own grief needs, you need and want to be there for your children. It’s sometimes hard to find the right balance. As a parent, it is helpful to model healthy and appropriate ways to express feelings. Today I saw a news report about the trial. It brought up very sad memories for me today. How about for you? Remember, the way you grieve and express your feelings can be a model for healthy and appropriate grieving.

Younger children tend to rely on parents for support but adolescents, as part of the developmental process, move more and more towards their peers. Don’t be offended. Find a balance between being supportive and hovering. Your children may say they are fine and indeed they may be fine. Others may be struggling. The same applies to parents. Everyone grieves and reacts differently to traumatic events. It is critical to be on the lookout for serious signs of depression and high risk behaviors. Please use this forum as a place to share your concerns and feelings and offer tips to others on what has worked for you as we all navigate towards becoming a stronger caring community
dscowan
 
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Re: For Parents

Postby nicksmom » Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:42 pm

Ok.....I will start. :) I think the hardest for me is that morning when I waked into the er and saw my beautiful strong funny son laying there with blood flowing out of the bullet wound in his neck and him looking up at me stronger than ever saying mom I was shot and I cant feel my legs. I just wanted to wake him up and say its just a bad dream. When he left for surgery I found my other son crying outside uncontrollably. He was always the one that seemed to be the stronger one. I knew then I had to hold it together. When he came out of surgery the doc said he is cautiously optimistic about regaining the use of his legs. Well.....so far he is wrong. But hey...after all he is not God.
The thing I feel the most guilty about is this......after hearing this from doc I actually said "thank God. Cu's there is no way in hell I can take care of a kid in a wheelchair!" Well at this point its more likely than not that his paraplegia is permanent. What kind of parent says that? I would give anything to trade places with him. Neither of us are as strong as people think. Once in a while I get a glimpse of him in his wheelchair and I just want to crawl in a ball and give up. But I always bounce back. I am scared 1 time I wont but nick needs me! I have been criticised by some people about a few things but I forgot they can walk on water.
My divorce was final only 2 months before this and I at the time thought it was the hardest thing I will go through. I was wrong!
Everyone keeps saying chardon needs to move on.....tell that to the 3 families that lost their kids in execution at chardon high school. He will never "walk" down the aisle slow dance etc...
Lets replace the red ribbons. Put the table back in the cafeteria. And wear red on the 27th of every month. It helped us.
Sorry for this being so long.
holly



L
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Re: For Parents

Postby beth 1 » Thu Oct 04, 2012 6:34 pm

Holly,

Thank you so much for posting. I am so very sorry about what happened to Nick and what you all have been through. You have not done or said anything wrong. I can't even begin to imagine what it was like for you the day of the shooting and since then. My son was in the cafeteria on 2/27 and he came home safe. After the shooting, everyone told me how sorry they were and how they were thinking and praying for us but I kept telling everyone that we were lucky because our son was home safe with us and that thoughts and prayers needed to be with Nick and the families of Danny, Demetrius and Russell.

Thank you again. Not a day goes by that I don't think of Nick, Danny, Demetrius, and Russell and all of the families.

Best wishes,
Beth
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Re: For Parents

Postby nicksmom » Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:58 pm

Beth
those kids in the cafeteria witnessed more than even my son! They have been pushed aside and forgotten. I have always thought about the cafeteria kids! NOT THE WHOLE SCHOOL! This is where my frustration lays. A lot of money isbeingwasted on kids that saw NOTHING. But I will make sure they are taken care of. PTSD comes either quick or years later. Be careful.
elementary kids do not need counseling! They have no clue and will soon forget.
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Re: For Parents

Postby dscowan » Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:51 am

Dear Holly and Beth –
Thank you so much for your heartfelt comments. While I do not know how the funds are being distributed, as the Director of The Bereavement Center, allow me to comment on how grief impacts the community.

A challenge after an event like this is that society at large may underestimate how it could affect persons who were not directly present or involved. Grief does indeed impact the entire community. Students who witnessed the event inside the cafeteria share a unique bond and unique needs. Students who were in the hallways, other classes and even home from school that day were also impacted by this event. Because each individual processes and grieves in their own way, there is a wide variety of grief and trauma reactions. Needs vary widely. Students throughout the Chardon school system were touched by this event - some in the elementary schools will be impacted the rest of their lives. This will be a defining moment for them. It’s so difficult to know or anticipate the influence of such a tragedy on an individual’s life.

If we can meet the needs of the all the students impacted, perhaps we can help them individually as they grow from children to adolescents to young adults and into adulthood.

Diane
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Re: For Parents

Postby beth 1 » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:20 am

Diane,

I agree that all of the students were affected. I think about how frightened they must have been in lockdown not knowing if they were safe, if their friends and/or siblings were safe, etc. And, of course, the aftermath of knowing that three students died and one was paralyzed, and that it was another student who was the shooter. It is so much to deal with.

I didn't mean that my own son was unaffected by the shooting when I said that I didn't want people praying for us. I just meant that we realized how fortunate we were that our son came home safely that day. We were all home and we knew he was safe - we weren't planning funerals or in the hospital with our son. It felt wrong for people to be worried about us when other families were experiencing huge losses. But, I am worried about my son and the mental trauma he experienced that day is something I expect we'll have to deal with for a lifetime.

The shooting has been very difficult for me to process. I can't imagine what it's like for the students and teachers if it is this difficult for me. And, of course for Holly, Nick and all of the families of the shooting victims.

Beth
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Re: For Parents

Postby nicksmom » Fri Oct 05, 2012 11:59 am

Thanks Diane.
I agree that everyone heals differently that is what makes complex human beings. That being said none of us will find the right answer. Our minds are delicate and no matter what training you have there is no exact solution. Counseling is not for everyone. Talking things through with family and friends can be more helpful than meeting with a stranger. That is what these elementary kids need. But I do think we all need to carefully pick out the ones that DO need help. Obviously I have spoke to many of the students. Believe me it seems I have had them all at my house since Nick was shot. Their biggest concern was the fact the school took EVERYTHING down. Not all of it can stay but they need to put somethings back.. I have been in the trenches with this disaster. I have seen. Heard. And felt it all.
the staff has been awesome. And the are getting the help they need. That is where we need to focus. Not elementary students that probably already forgotten. We need to act quickly for the current seniors as we only have 8 more months and once they leave they may not get any support.
What I am trying to say is lets focus on who NEEDS it now! I can tell you right now at least a dozen kids off the top of my head that are turning to substance abuse and self destruction. And they ARE getting counseling. As parents we are running out of time for those that need it the MOST. NOT EVERYONE needs help right now. Nicks friends know my door is always open. Sometimes they just want talk like friends and not in a stuffy atmosphere. Do you know that some of them just go to counseling to get out of class. Yah its just not working for some of them. I probably have too much to say as my friends know that is nothing new. This forum I think will really help the parents express their ideas and I hope nobody feels they will say the wrong thing because everyones opinion counts.
Holly
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