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Content Notes for "In the Depths of Your Grief" - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
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Content Notes for "In the Depths of Your Grief"
These are the content notes for "In the Depths of Your Grief."


"A feeling of pleasure or solace can be so hard to find when you are in the depths of your grief. Sometimes it's the little things that help get you through the day. You may think your comforts sound ridiculous to others, but there is nothing ridiculous about finding one little thing to help you feel good in the midst of pain and sorrow!"
Elizabeth Berrien, Creative Grieving: A Hip Chick's Path from Loss to Hope

The Incident Command System provides a framework for organizing personnel and resources in an emergency. The fractal structure is standard, but it can actually be configured however makes sense for a given incident, which means that people and tasks can be combined in different ways or assigned to different areas of activity. Here is a sample flow chart of the structure.

Listed below are the standard ICS titles:
Organizational Level - Title - Support Position
Incident Command - Incident Commander - Deputy
Command Staff - Officer - Assistant
General Staff (Section) - Chief - Deputy
Branch - Director - Deputy
Division/Group - Supervisor - N/A
Unit - Leader - Manager
Strike Team/Task Force - Leader - Single Resource Boss

In this raid, personnel include:
Incident Commander (Maddox Adams)
Planning Chief, Operations Chief
BASH Director (Callen La Salle), Support Director (Kelsa Caldwell)
BASH Team Leader (Bert Armbruster), Medical Team Leader
Single Resource Boss (Officer Pink for Turq)

The Support Branch includes medical teams, transport teams, protection teams, and special resources like Officer Pink and Turq. They work primarily in the warm zone to provide backup in case the breach teams need help. Combat medics dash into the line of fire to extract casualties which they bring back to other paramedics for care. Transport teams carry stabilized casualties to the medical station in the cold zone for further treatment. Protection teams can be deployed into the hot zone, or used to hold the line while other support members retreat. Soups usually serve as a single resource boss (like Ansel) or a single resource (like Turq and Anxiety Girl).

Emergency care features seven principles as illustrated here, along with seven personal skills. If you want to learn first aid, you can look for Red Cross courses in your area, or learn online for free.

Terramagne is a lot more serious about medical neutrality than local-Earth has become.

In this example of police codes, 187 stands for murder.  Adding "T" in front of that indicates a trophy.

(Some of these links are heinous.)
Killers may take trophies from their victims for various reasons.  Sapient remains count as human remains for the purpose of prosecuting suspects for desecration.

In this incident, the support crew uses three different colors of body bags: blue for police or other raid personnel, black for suspects, and white for victims.  A body bag ID kit contains multiple tags and other paperwork for identifying mortal remains.  Treating a murder trophy in the same manner as a whole body indicates the severity of the crime, assures survivors that the matter is taken seriously, and reminds staff to treat the remains with respect and not like inert evidence.

See Turq's red heart tissue holder.  It has a pattern and tutorial.

This pattern for a foursquare tissue holder mentions making them as donations to Sewing for Charity Australia. Various charities in local-America also seek handicrafts to comfort their clients. In Terramagne-America, tissue holders are popular because you can stash them anywhere people will be crying, such as an ambulance. The red hearts represent emotional first aid.

In L-America, paramedics often get no job training to handle death and death notifications to surviving family.  This cruelly deprives paramedics of essential job skills, thus raising their stress.  It also increases the number of families who receive incompetent care a time when they are most vulnerable, thus raising the risk of mental complications such as traumatic grief or PTSD.  Understand how to support people in dealing with death.  Among the most crucial skills for this is plain old validation; anyone can do that.  This checklist for "Everything Is Awful and I'm Not Okay" applies to a wide range of stressful situations, and helps you or someone else ensure that basic needs are covered.  I have also collected resources for grief and copied a typical grief questionnaire from T-America.

Murder loss has a devastating impact on families.  It creates a distinctive pattern of grief and raises the risk of complicated grief.  There are self-help tips for survivors of murder loss and for people who want to help them.  This entry about companioning a mourner talks about the harm done by pathologizing grief and the importance of sustaining a relationship with the deceased. Notice that Risa remains a part of Kedric's life, because he uses her death to help him connect with bereaved clients. She's right there beside him, like an EFA assistant.  Helping a homicide survivor heal is one of many topics routinely covered in funeral home literature in T-America.  It's part of their education on mourning skills along with the grief questionnaire.  You can read many of those topics in this online archive of brochures.

Burnout is a serious problem in various careers.  Paramedics are especially prone to burnout and compassion fatigue, so the frequency is very high.  This can result in cold-hearted, indifferent, and even downright cruel treatment of clients and their friends or family.  When people are hurting, especially if there's no way to fix that, sometimes what they need most is simply someone to sit down and cry with them.  By providing Emotional First Aides, T-America covers that base a lot better than L-America does. Understand how to prevent burnout and heal compassion fatigue, or help someone else through that.  People who can't should get another job.

Traumatic grief and complicated grief may benefit from family therapy.  In some areas, bereavement care is free to homicide survivors.  There are resources on how to cope after a murder and help other people cope.

A BASH combat computer wraps around the forearm.

Therapy comes in many different types.  Learn how to recognize good therapy, choose a suitable type for your needs, and find the best therapist for you.

The bull rush is a headlong charge that uses mass and momentum to push back or flatten an opponent, or to smash through a barrier. BASH officers are trained to use this both ways. Vulnerable targets include the solar plexus or groin in front and the kidneys in back. A full-force strike to these areas will disable most opponents. Bull rushing is similar to tackling in sports.  The main difference is that a bull rush aims to disable, while a tackle only aims to trip.  I couldn't find a good description of bull rushing as a martial move, so here are instructions for tackling.  Note that with a tackle, you want to aim above the center of gravity to knock your opponent off balance.  WIth a bull rush, directing the force into the center of gravity or just below it causes more force to be absorbed by the body instead of defrayed by backward motion, raising the chance of damage.  This also means that, in T-America, getting a job on a BASH team is one of the few practical professions where a high school or college football player can put his sporting skills directly into his day job.

(These links are gross.)
Knuckle injuries can be painful and messy.  A bruised hand is a common type of hand injurySplinting or buddy taping two adjacent fingers can protect the injury so it doesn't get worse.  A universal hand-finger splint works great.  With cut knuckles in particular, you need to keep them from bending too much to avoid splitting the cuts wider.

See the Groucho Marx puppy.

At the scene of an incident, T-America provides healthy foods and beverages along with a little comforting junk.  This allows people to support their bodies, shift their mood up or down, and buffer stress in general.

Easily digestible foods include yogurt, rice, bananas, apples, avocados, eggs, tomatoes, cucumbers, gelatin, applesauce, nuts, carrots, turkey, soy milk, tofu, soup, ginger, and lamb.  These help people who have nausea or appetite loss due to trauma.  They're also gentle on digestive systems that have been turned down by the fight-flight response.

Mood-boosting foods include salmon, spinach, chia seeds, lentils, and chocolate.  These uplifting things help people pull out of a low mood in upsetting circumstances.

Soothing foods such as oatmeal and chickpeas can ease anxiety.  They help lower a hypersensitive mood so that people can calm down after stressful events.

Culinary adaptogens include ginseng and licorice.  They boost resilience to help the mind and body fix whatever's wrong.

Horace's Health Nuts are sweet and spicy.

There is a company of several multicultural women that's making packets of just crispy chickpeas in different flavors. The Hot Chicks are extra-spicy, the Saucy Chicks are milder, and the Sweet Chicks are sugary. The promotional characters are baby chickens dressed as bikers on the Hot Chicks, the Saucy Chicks have more eclectic "go out and have fun" outfits, and the Sweet Chicks are dolled up in pink. So cute, I wish I could draw these.

Screamin' Squirrel is a Terramagne-American character used to market both healthy snacks and fitness. The commercials feature Screamin' Squirrel in various sporty activities, with a moral or safety technique demonstrated, and a snack type appropriate to it. They are funny enough that people enjoy watching them. Screamin' Squirrel Treats are peanut shaped protein snacks, similar to small protein bars.  Other popular items include Screamin' Squirrel Almond-Coconut Granola Bark and Screamin' Squirrel Chocolate-Hazelnut Protein Power Balls.

Jumble Munch in Protein Power House includes lentil papadums, kale crisps, pumpkin seeds, candied chickpeas, spiced mixed nuts, peanut butter-quinoa granola clusters, and protein granola squares.

Cajun Turkey Po Boy is a healthy sandwich.

Folding picnic tables typically tuck the legs inside two halves of the top, and are available with attached benches or separate stools. They make it easy to set up an eatery on any flat surface near a galley truck or kitchen tent.

CarGo -- a weirdly compelling 3D video game in T-America about packing groceries into various handbaskets, carts, vehicles, and kitchen storage. The more of the groceries you can cram into the space -- without damaging fragile ones like eggs -- the more points you get.

Acute stress reaction is a normal response to an abnormal event. Most people will freak out or freeze up for a few days, then gradually recover. Treatment typically consists of common sense comforts. The most important point is to listen if someone wants to talk about what happened, but don't pressure them to do so.

Preventing PTSD is important, but caregivers are just beginning to identify things that help. First, understand that PTSD is fundamentally a sorting error: the brain can't file traumatic memories properly, so they replay over and over again. Playing a stacking-and-sorting game such as Tetris can activate the brain's sorting function. Making a care diary, timeline, or trauma scrapbook can help place memories in context as part of the life story.

"You don't have to eat the eggplant" is a reminder to traumatized people that it's essential to prioritize working on important things and not trivial ones. If avoiding a trigger doesn't cost you anything crucial, just avoid it. Save your energy for the challenges that you have to deal with.

Dallas is a county northwest of Douglas, with Webster between them. In T-America, the rural shortage of psychiatrists is still bad, but the relief is better. The larger towns such as Springfield are responsible and equipped to meet needs that local resources can't. In case of a wider crisis like the raid on the Umsetzung Complex, experts are brought in to treat communal trauma so as to avoid overloading area resources.

Communal trauma is a type of collective trauma, affecting communities after they share a terrible event.  This can cause soul injury and other problems.  Disaster response and collective trauma move through phases.  How communities respond has great influence on how well people recover.  Learn about how to heal communal trauma.

In T-America, a typical communal trauma response team for big awful situations like this consists of one psychiatrist, two psychologists, one Doctor of Emotional Trauma Care, two Emotional First Aides, one community counselor, two peer counselors, one communal trauma specialist, two communal trauma assistants, one Trauma-Informed Care specialist, two TIC trainers, one organizer, two secretaries, and extra counselors or support staff as needed. The team is designed to break down into smaller units to address different aspects of the situation. The psychiatrist and psychologists provide assessment and care for anyone having serious problems due to the incident, taking steps to arrange long-term support if necessary. The ETC/EFA unit provides acute care, often referring people to the psychiatric unit, along with teaching self-care skills. The community counseling team assesses local resources and assists in organizing the infrastructure to help survivors. The communal trauma unit teaches people about communal trauma and its impacts, and helps them formulate a collective response toward healing. The TIC unit assesses the level of trauma awareness locally and provides training so that local caregivers and authorities will understand traumatic reactions and avoid making matters worse. The organizer and secretaries handle the logistics of the response mission as a whole, minimizing the amount of time that busy specialists have to spend on paperwork. Additional counselors, secretaries, or specialists may be called in if the local needs exceed available resources -- they have surge plans with multiple thresholds to accommodate that.

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