I was listening to my car radio, as a French psychiatrist spoke about trauma. He mentioned three groups of victims.
The first are those directly affected (physically injured) by the event.
The second are those who witnessed the event.
The third are those who are aware of the event: you and I.
I don't know anyone personally who was in the attack in Nice. A friend of my daughter's lost her aunt. Typing those words brings a swift physical reaction, tears shooting to the surface of this vessel. It is a strange and mysterious vessel, sometimes out of my own control (tears, twitchings). We walk our vessels around, our souls nestled somewhere inside. Where? In our big toe? In the depths of a dilating pupil? Or somewhere in the brain where, like God beyond a cloud, I have always pictured this to be. (I don't mind if you think I'm naive.)
It is all un mystère. It is not vital to know our origin. We will go on breathing, hearts beating. Some of us search for meaning, knowing (or reminded by others) that we cannot know beyond what we see.
(Love being one exception.)
This brings us to another mystery: our emotions. How are we feeling right now? Numb, guilty, sad, angry, misunderstood, in love, in despair, confused? Do we want to eat? Shop? Sleep? Is it right, wrong on a day like today?
As France begins three days of national mourning, we are given a hint on how we should proceed over the next days: en deuil. Up to each one of us to decide what it means to mourn and how we will do it.
The radio psychiatrist I told you about went on to give advice about what to do after a traumatic event: Parler. Talk. This is what I am doing now. Thank you for listening. If you would like to talk, too, join us here in the comments box.
Picture of our dog and our precious daughter. I have learned over the past 6 months that words cannot always ease suffering. So I have narrowed down my words, to two in particular, and I believe these two words do help those experiencing despair: Hold on.
Thanks for sharing this post. This poem might be of help to you as well: Desiderata, in English and in French, click here.
Thank you for considering a contribution today!
Ongoing support from readers like you keeps me writing and improving this free language journal, for the past 18 years. If you enjoy this website and would like to keep it going, please know your donation towards this effort makes all the difference! No matter the weather, on good days or bad, I am committed to sharing a sunny, vocabulary-packed update with you, one you can look forward to. I hope it fuels your dreams of coming to France while expanding your French vocabulary. A contribution by check or via PayPal (or credit card, links below) is greatly appreciated. Merci!