Fifty-seven Canadians were killed when Ukrainian Airlines Flight 752 was shot down in Iran. According to a piece in the Montreal Gazette by Jason Magder, those killed included newlyweds, students and young professionals. Perhaps just as important is the fact the victims were also sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, parents and friends from every walk of life.
Stories on the tragedy were presented by nearly every major Canadian news organization including the Toronto Star, the Ottawa Citizen and the Vancouver Courier. Justin Trudeau was quoted as saying, “On behalf of all Canadians, I would like to express my deepest condolences to those who are mourning the loss of a loved one. Your loss is indescribable and this is a heartbreaking tragedy. An entire country is with you. We share your grief.”
Justin Trudeau knows all too well about loss after losing his brother in an avalanche in 1998 and his very famous father in 2000.
Coming together in the face of such an unspeakable tragedy is important. However, a vitally important question remains for the survivors: How does one handle such grief?
Laura Prince, author of Sibling Loss, A Sister’s Journey From Despair To Celebration, offers some words of wisdom that can help people begin to pick up the pieces and take the first steps toward healing.
“There is no recipe, and no one knows—nor will ever know—how you feel, and how you have lived your personal tragedy,” says Prince. “It’s a matter of finding your way through support groups, therapy and friendships. Writing is a major help, and listening to others’ stories is also very healing. Whatever helps you feel compassion for all of us and gratitude for discovering a peaceful place again will help you chart your particular journey to healing.”
Prince says that time was necessary for perspective, but it all could have been more easy than it was. “Time has illustrated to me that the death of my brother was the catalyst to my devastating despair; however, the lack of support was the tragedy. A person left with no avenue of help, especially a child, is emotionally doomed in most ways. Getting help was what got me over Mathew, but only after years of senseless suffering.” ◊