Care­givers: Heroes within the com­mu­nity

The Taos News - - OBITUARIES - Ted Wiard

This column seeks to help ed­u­cate our com­mu­nity about emo­tional heal­ing through grief. Peo­ple may write ques­tions to Golden Wil­low Re­treat and they will be an­swered pri­vately to you and pos­si­bly as a fu­ture ar­ti­cle for oth­ers. Please list a first name that grants per­mis­sion for print­ing.

Dear Dr. Ted:

Your ar­ti­cle last week sent shiv­ers through my body to think that many ser­vices may be dis­jointed, and peo­ple may be without needed sup­port in our com­mu­nity. I re­ally had not thought about the in­fra­struc­ture that men­tal and phys­i­cal health work­ers pro­vide for our com­mu­nity. To be quite hon­est, I have mostly com­plained rather than ap­pre­ci­ated these sup­ports that keep our town up and run­ning. I guess you could say this is a true grief process for North­ern New Mex­ico.

Thanks, Rick

Dear Rick,

You are cor­rect that ma­jor changes within a com­mu­nity trig­ger both an in­di­vid­ual and a col­lec­tive grief process.

The hope is that com­mu­nity lead­ers can help guide a path in the tran­si­tion and move the com­mu­nity from a place of chaos and fear to re­con­struc­tion and a stronger com­mu­nity while glean­ing wis­dom from the past. It takes more than lead­ers for this to hap­pen. It takes ev­ery­body to work to­gether by ex­press­ing feel­ings in a so­lu­tion-fo­cused man­ner, rather than a re­ac­tive and com­plain­ing man­ner, as that only adds more fuel to the chaotic fire.

What I see over and over again in the grief process is that peo­ple can build a higher level of care for hu­man­ity and for the world with grat­i­tude and hu­mil­ity. This does not mean that sad­ness, fear and mis­trust are not part of the grief process. They are. But grief can also al­low a trans­for­ma­tional process to de­velop.

Mov­ing from the past into the present is dif­fi­cult be­cause of the de­mand for hu­mil­ity, au­then­tic­ity and trans­parency. How­ever, if a com­mu­nity can ac­cept the facts and use these facts to build the foun­da­tion for the present sit­u­a­tion, the com­mu­nity can re­gain trust and the in­fra­struc­ture of sup­ports can be reestab­lished.

Care­givers are the fiber that al­lows a com­mu­nity to ex­ist, and this is quite of­ten for­got­ten and taken for granted. Men­tal and phys­i­cal health is a need that can­not be over­looked, yet it seems to be a ser­vice that we think should be on speed dial, un­til some­thing hap­pens, and they are no longer avail­able.

As far as a com­mu­nity grief process, it’s true that the town is hurt­ing, and many lev­els of fear are very real as the com­mu­nity sits in an un­com­fort­able state of the un­known. Fear has a ten­dency to lead to de­fen­sive­ness, blame, ac­cu­sa­tions and ru­mors.

As or­ga­ni­za­tions, gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and providers re­build sup­ports, my hope is that we can re­mem­ber the im­por­tance of all of our providers and fi­nan­cial sup­port­ers as well as ap­pre­ci­ate the im­por­tance of each of those in­di­vid­u­als who are will­ing to give those sup­ports. They are our com­mu­nity’s true heroes.

Thank you for the ques­tion. I wish you well. Un­til next week, take care.

Golden Wil­low Re­treat is a non­profit or­ga­ni­za­tion fo­cused on emo­tional heal­ing and re­cov­ery from any type of loss. Di­rect any ques­tions to Dr. Ted Wiard, EdD, LPCC, CGC, Founder of Golden Wil­low Re­treat at

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