"There is nothing more painful than the untimely death of someone young and dear to the heart. The harrowing grief surges from a bottomless well of sorrow, drowning the mourner in a torrent of agonizing pain; an exquisite pain that continues to afflict the mourner with heartache and loneliness long after the deceased is buried and gone."
-- Jocelyn Murray
“Loss is like a wind, it either carries you to a new destination or it traps you in an ocean of stagnation. You must quickly learn how to navigate the sail, for stagnation is death.”
― Val Uchendu
Read my take on irresponsible storytelling as a background for this poem.
Drowning is a serious threat. Water rescue is a skilled rescue operation. Know first aid for drowning.
(These links are disturbing.)
Survival times in cold water are considerably better than in warm water, but in general, the odds are grim. Realistically, it is advisable to give up after 5-10 minutes in warm water and 10-15 in cold water.
Several studies have demonstrated the relationship between submersion time and survival (5,6), including a case series of children that found the risk of death or severe neurological disability to be 10% for 0 to 5 minutes, 56% for 6 to 9 minutes, 88% for 10 to 25 minutes, and 100% for greater than 25 minutes.
(These links are heartbreaking.)
Losing a child is the worst thing that can happen to a parent, and often leaves them unable to function. This is also hard on surviving siblings, who need extra support, although some ages may seem unaffected. Know how to help survivors. Here is a handbook for grieving parents and one on children's grief.
(These links are intense.)
Traumatic grief comes from a shattering loss, and it heals slowly or not at all or gets worse, instead of recovering at a normal (which is still not fast) rate. Traumatic loss and multiple bereavement both increase the risk of complicated grief, PTSD, or other complications. Here's a big archive of articles about all kinds of grief. Grieving people -- whether their grief is normal or traumatic -- need a safe and supportive environment. Few things are as precious as a friend who'll let you bawl on their shoulder until you run out of tears. There are tips on coping with grief and supporting a bereaved friend.
(So are these.)
I have a post about dealing with grief and a grief questionnaire. Emotional first aid may help too. You can also help an upset friend online.
(These links are touchy.)
Acute stress reaction is a normal response to an abnormal situation. Most people have difficulty functioning in the immediate aftermath of disaster, but they typically recover within a few hours or days. Having that strong reaction doesn't mean anything in wrong with their health, although it may feel that way. It is best treated with comfort and compassion. Extreme symptoms that disrupt functionality for more than a few days qualify as acute stress disorder. This is a "stuck problem" where the mind can't process an event properly and keeps re-experiencing it instead of filing it as a past memory. People may benefit from counseling for the stress and/or short-term medication to ease nausea, anxiety, or other complaints but not long-term medication. If the impairment lasts more than a month, it becomes post-traumatic stress disorder, a long-term condition. Counseling and/or medication may help, preferably from caregivers conversant with the particulars of grief.
Traumatic stress can cause a spectrum of effects ranging from acute stress reaction (a normal response that fades after a few days) through acute stress disorder (a "stuck" crisis state that lasts up to a month), PTSD (a "stuck" crisis state lasting more than one month), to PDSD (a "stuck" crisis state involving repeated traumatic experiences over time). In this case, Abbott shows symptoms of re-experiencing trauma typical of acute stress; if it lasts longer, it can turn into PTSD. This is fundamentally a failure of processing that happens inside the brain. When the mind cannot file traumatic memories properly, then they don't integrate into experience, which disrupts the ability to recognize context. The events get "stuck" in a processing loop within the mind, which turns those memories into triggers that cause flashbacks. Some new therapies focus on the body as a way to "unstick" those memories and thus heal the mind. Supportive friends can help, although these symptoms are very difficult for everyone to deal with.
Stuffed animals or other soft toys can help soothe upset children. Teddy bears and other stuffies for emergencies may be collected and distributed by first responders. You can make a variety of stuffed animals.
The Rose Hulman Institute of Technology Sports and Recreation Complex includes the Rose-Hulman Natatorium.
Lifeguarding lessons include how to teach water safety.
Drownproofing is a more advanced skill. This is part of general skills for crisis resilience.
See a Coast Guard analysis for predicting survival times in non-drowning situations.
"Make it easy to do the right thing and hard to do the wrong thing."
-- animal training rule
Make it easy to do the right thing is also a vital principle in discipline.
Having a baby after child loss can invite cruel comments. It has a lot of ups and downs.
Learn about building a pond or lake for fishing. You can dam a stream or river, but in order to reduce silt buildup, try to route the inflow through a wetland similar to a swamp filter with a zig-zag route. Add suitable fish, provide them with habitat, and manage the water for their comfort. Among the native fish of Indiana, blue catfish, channel catfish, brook trout, bluegill, sunfish, and largemouth bass are popular. To shift people from unsafe to safe fishing locations, hold events for adults and children at the desired location so it becomes part of the fishing community.
Indiana is prone to wetlands. Riparian zones require careful management. Wetland plants, wildflowers, shrubs, and trees all enhance a wetland. A few trees can even tolerate standing water. This makes for a nice river walk.
Read about Indiana frogs and toads.
Water hole development follows stages, especially if designed to accommodate wildlife. Ducks typically appear later, based on what they eat, but sometimes they land in new water.
This is Lola May's baby carrier. The Beco Gemini Carina Nebula is recommended for security.