My wife couldn’t believe when I showed her the itinerary. 18 days of Europe trip. A trip that was a long time coming, especially for her since she had never been to Europe before. This was a dream come true. To cross five major countries and experience the most favored tourist destinations was going to be surreal, the highlight being Paris, south of France and Rome.
It was a well-planned trip that went without a hitch and was just the best honeymoon we could have asked for. We went through all the major cities sightseeing all the way in Rome where we flew back from on July 10th 2016.
Four Days Later
Four days since our return, the news about Nice, France and how someone mercilessly killed more than 80 people came through the local TV news. All of a sudden, it sunk in for us. We were there at that very place less than a week ago. The repeated news on TV and social media bringing to life just how unpredictable life is and how it could well have been us. As we had stood on the beach in Nice, on American Independence day, we had discussed the French Independence Day fondly known as Bastille day.
As tears began to roll down my wife’s eyes, I switched the TV off. Soon after, I began to realize just how surreal the whole thing was. We were sad and crying just by association since we had visited and fallen in love with Nice about a week ago. We were mortified at what had transpired. How could someone commit such a ruthless act? How must those unsuspecting innocent victims have felt? It was beyond our capability and imagine to comprehend.
If this was so difficult for us to understand and bear, what about those who witnessed the whole thing or who ran trying to escape the carnage, those who were there, and those who lost their loved ones that day, their pain must be far greater than we could imagine. I cannot help but think about the grief and heartache for the people who lost their loved ones that day. The trauma of such an event will undoubtedly leave a mark for years to come.
PTSD, depression and grief are often associated with such events in history. Surely, something can be done about it. As much as we push our governments to protect us better, there is not much else we can do on that front. But is there something we humans can do for us to ease the pain and suffering. My answer was quickly answered by my wife who happens to be a doctor, “Social Support”, she said.
Social Support, shown through research to help patients going through depression, PTSD and the like, was certainly a part of the answer. It has been shown to improve outcome in patients suffering from chronic conditions. Indeed, Social Support is what the families need in this hour. They need support from all over the world to let them know that they are not alone in their suffering and their sorrow. Support in the form of TV and print coverage, Social media, support from any PTSD forum or depression chat room, even letters and postcards would certainly help ease the pain and suffering.
Also, an avenue where these families can reach out, speak and discuss their sorrow, their story and their grief will certainly help as well. TV channels have done well in bringing them forward to tell their stories and I hope they continue to do so. They can also take to social media, or forums, phone apps, or local chapters of religious organizations to align themselves with Social Support.
We cannot change the fact that a massacre happened in Nice, but I certainly hope we can make an impact in the lives of those left to suffer, by showing them our support.
Sunil is a social entrepreneur working on projects that enhance the quality of life for people. He is passionate about using tech to help the human cause.