Dear Fletcher friends,
Rarely do I write to a specific community through this space, yet the past forty-eight hours have encouraged me to share. I know some of you are struggling with what happened on Monday. I know because we’ve talked or emailed about it. I want to send a soft reminder to be gentle with yourself and your community, a community that we saw in caring action on Monday.
Grief [shock, loss, confusion, etc.] is challenging. It surprises you, it moves you, and most importantly, it isn’t some linear process that you snap out of [even if it is sunny out]. It doesn’t take a break for class, sleep, paper writing, or group meetings. A Colbert notes, “And grief comes to you. You know what I mean? I’ve always liked that phrase He was visited by grief, because that’s really what it is. Grief is its own thing.” It might be as simple as “I don’t feel as great this week.”
It is okay if you feel off this week. It is okay that you can’t concentrate or don’t want to sit in the library, even though you have so much to do. It is okay if you feel grief, or emotions you can’t identify, even though you don’t know anyone who was physically hurt or weren’t even at the event. It is also okay if you don’t feel anything. It is okay if this tragedy reminds you of other losses in your life. It is okay to miss people or moments that have nothing [on the surface] to do with what happened on Monday.
It is okay to feel for a community you live in, whether you consider it home or not. It is okay to feel connected to the tragedy. It is okay to be affected by violence, even if you study it every day at school, and sometimes feel desensitized. It is okay to wonder why or how this happened? It is okay that you are happy it is spring, even if you want to stay curled up under the covers today.
We are human because we feel these things and because we strive for a world where people are secure. We worried about our friends and all the other people that we don’t know personally – just like we are worried about so many unsafe places all over the world, each day. Isn’t that what human security is, after all? We might not be here, at this school, if we didn’t care. Lean into the fact that you care and the fact that this affects you – see what it feels like, learn from it, and let it propel you.
Be gentle. Breathe into the emotions. Care for yourself and those around you. And, most importantly, try not to judge your reaction. After all, you are human.
With love and pride to be part of this community,