Donna Smaldone
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Sunday / October 30 / 2011

[VIDEO] When one person has more than their share of trauma

A reader asks, “What do you do when one person has more than their share of trauma … why does that happen? …and how we can help them?” Today’s vlog explores the answers to that question.

Press the PLAY button in the image below…

8 responses to “[VIDEO] When one person has more than their share of trauma”

  1. Sara Mannix says:

    Great video and great advice, I remember after having one of my miscarriages when I’d lost hope, people would offer advise like ” you can try again” but one person, my sister-in-law Margie came over and held me for a long time and cried with me and that is what I needed more than anything, not words just compassion. Thank you for sharing this. Everyone means well but it’s so hard to know what to do when someone you love is hurting.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thank you, Sara. And thank God for Margie. She “gets” it. I’m not sure why our human nature is to “fix” things by giving pat answers, though I’m certain you never hear such a pat answer from someone who’s received one him or herself. I think it’s along the same lines as our American culture to always say “…how are you?” (and not really mean it).

      It’s time we push aside pat answer rituals and really begin to engage with one another.

      Thanks so much for sharing your story with us.

      Love,
      Donna

  2. Carrie says:

    Great video. Thanks for sharing and I will remember this wisdom because it is hard to know what to do and say. As I think back…… I wish someone would have….. just held me and let me cry when my Dad died.

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Thank you, Carrie. I’m so sorry someone wasn’t there to give you the space and the freedom to just… mourn. Response to trauma looks differently on everyone and perhaps that’s why people struggle so much with what to say.

      I’d love to see us all give ourselves the freedom to say, “I don’t know what to say… just know I’m here for you.” The key is reaching out and connecting with those we love and cherish who are hurting.

      I am always here if you ever need to (or just want to) cry about the still fresh loss of your Dad… or anything else.

      Love, Donna

  3. Kim says:

    This video came at the perfect time for me.. you always manage to put into words, exactly how I am trying to live my life. It was a difficult day for me today, seeing my good friends hurting from the death of their wife and mother. Being the shoulder for pain, tears and misery is a heavy load but, one that we all need to provide from time to time. It was a sad yet beautiful day Tuesday. I had the priviledge of being a good friend and was able to show to my son that true friendship is not always easy but, oh so worth the hurt!

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      What a beautiful gift of love and grace you gave not only to your mourning friends, Kim, but to your son as well.

      Unfortunately, one of the fallouts from our “microwave society” is we think everything is supposed to be that easy… and that fast. And as you know, it’s simply not.

      Thank you for sharing your heart with us here. Thank you for demonstrating true friendship and love — and more importantly, for BEING such a beautiful, true friend.

      Love, Donna

  4. Mary says:

    Donna –

    Thank you for this video – sometimes I feel like I have had more than my share of sadness in my life and the best way to survive is to keep it deep inside. I lost my son 4 years ago in a car accident – he was only 21. There were 4 of them in the car – 3 of them died and there was alcohol involved. He left behind 2 children and one not yet born – yes, I said 3 🙂 but, that is a whole story in itself. This of course is the greatest pain I will ever endure. I am surviving the best I can – I think I am doing ok. I have tried counseling – it doesn’t seem to be what I need. They all think I must be angry with myself, God or someone else. I can’t even begin to remember all of the theories as to what I need to work out. I am just sad, I lost my son and that in itself is a big hurt. I don’t think there has to be anything more to it than that. It is so hard to know how to comfort someone, but your advice is perfect. Sometimes when people try to help their words can hurt. Yes, I have heard that “he is in a better place” – I know that, but I still wish he was here. My least favorite is to hear how strong I am – that they could never survive – if they only knew. I realize it is hard to know what to say – I have been there myself. It is hard for me to know what to say too and I hope they never truly understand. Unless you have lived it – it is hard to understand.

    Believe it or not Stephen King says it best to me – “The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them — words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a tellar but for want of an understanding ear.”

    During a therapy session I had told the therapist that even though I have suffered hardships in my life ( Some of the things I had disclosed during our sessions were that I lost my mother when I was 4 and my middle sister was 3 – my mom died giving birth to my baby sister, my Dad collapsed into the depths of alcohol and addiction.) – I still have had a good life. She asked me when? That was my last session. Hard to believe, but true. If the professionals don’t know what to say then who does? God, love, friends and family – a hug – the keys to our survival. Thank you for sharing your blog – your kind words and wisdom. Mary

    • Donna Smaldone says:

      Dear Mary, thank you so much for sharing such a big part of your journey and your heart with us. The word “heartbreaking” seems to pale in light of what you’ve suffered.

      Love the quote from Stephen King… so wise, so deep. “That’s the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller but for want of an understanding ear.” So true! I implore you… don’t give up on finding those understanding ears. You’ve found one here — and your sharing here is a brave step in the healing process.

      Love,
      Donna

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