Caregivers: Heroes within the community
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.
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 GWR@newmex.com.