Sunday, November 1, 2009
The search for 7 members of the Coast Guard and 2 Marines who went down in a collision between a plane and a helicopter off the coast of California last week has now been declared a recovery mission. The Coast Guard announced that, after 60 hours, the chances of survival were negligible. In a forgotten detail of this story, the missing boater whom the Coast Guard was searching for when their plane went down is also still missing.
Far and away the most common reaction people have when receiving news of a traumatic death is one of disbelief. I have seen people who have been notified of a loved one's death by someone who has seen the body still demand "proof." The mind can only handle so much, and refusing to believe bad news is one of the many ways we protect ourselves from the pain that sudden death of someone we care about can bring. Even once the news has "settled in" a little more, survivors report feeling like they are in a nightmare, waiting to wake up. It just doesn't seem real.
The Associated Press reports that the father of one of the missing, Marine 1st Lt. Thomas Claiborne, confirmed that his son has been "declared deceased." That very fact is surreal by itself. It's hard enough to accept that someone could be here one moment and dead the next. In this case, the divider between life and death is not a biological fact, but a decision by a superior officer. How can someone be declared dead? They either are or they aren't.
So it is no surprise and no shame that the mother of another missing sailor, Coast Guard Lt. Adam W. Bryant, is not accepting this news right now. She told the Associated Press,
Miracles do happen. Miracles every day.After all, how would she live with herself if he were found and she had given up hope? And how will she carry on knowing that he is dead? Clearly, denial is a lot easier. Acceptance will come slowly. Our hearts go out to these families. Even if they find the remains of these servicemen, healing is going to take a long, long time.
Meet the Quarterback
- Naomi Zikmund-Fisher
- is a clinical social worker, former school Principal and a Crisis Consultant for schools and community organizations. You can learn more about her at www.SchoolCrisisConsultant.com
Contact the Quarterback
- ► 2011 (66)
- ► 2010 (153)
- What if You Survived the Lakewood Police Shootings...
- Man Traveling with Family Dies at the Grand Canyon...
- Update: Nutty Putty Cave Becomes a Final Resting P...
- Giving Thanks the Day After Nutty Putty Cave
- Should the President Send Condolences When a Soldi...
- Census Worker Bill Sparkman's Death a Suicide, Sta...
- Hope is a Double-Edged Sword: Man With Locked-In S...
- Leak at Three Mile Island, But It's Only 1979 in O...
- Gail Schoening Found After 12 Years: The End or t...
- Predicting PTSD Ahead of Time
- Missouri Incest Case Raises Questions for All of U...
- A Deadly House Fire, and Blame Gets in the Way
- The Unthinkable: Shaniya Davis' Body Found
- Goodbye to the D.C. Sniper
- 9-11 Trial in New York: How Do You Pick a Jury?
- The CDC and H1N1: What if We Threw a Panic and Nob...
- Hostage Situation at Stissing Mountain Middle Scho...
- The Children of Fort Hood
- Deer vs. Lion at the National Zoo
- Fort Hood: What Compassion Fatigue Is, and Isn't
- No Easy Answers: The Why's and Wherefores of Fort...
- Fort Hood: The Waiting is the Hardest Part
- Why Can't We Blame Those Who Most Deserve It?
- Fayetteville, NC: Murder is Murder
- Protecting Us from Hamburgers and News About Hambu...
- Keeping it Surreal: 9 Declared Dead Off Californi...
- ▼ November (26)