Our Collective Grief – Mourning for Those We’ll Never Know

It’s not that we’re no longer shocked; it just happens so often that we feel numb in its familiarity. Another day, another shooting, and more tragic loss of life. We’re still grieving the heartbreaking loss of the victims murdered in Orlando and now we add to those the deaths in Minnesota, Baton Rouge, and Dallas. How do we process the loss to our national community in the wake of so much violence?

We may not have known the victims, but we are nevertheless touched by their deaths. How do we mourn for those we did not know? What can we do and how do we express our grief?

  1. It may be helpful to seek comfort in your community. Attend a religious service or a nondenominational program to remember the deceased.
  2. Light a memorial candle that will burn for 24-hours to remember the lives lost. Verbalize your feelings and thoughts as you light the candle and reflect on those words as you pass the flickering light over the next day.
  3. Meet with friends, neighbors, and others in the community to articulate your feelings and ask how they are processing their grief.
  4. Find outlets where you can participate in strengthening diversity and bonds in your community.
  5. Give of your time to worthy causes that help members in your community. Volunteer at a food bank, the animal shelter, or the library.
  6. Feed the hungry, collect small toiletries or games for a shelter, take a garbage bag and pick up trash in your neighborhood, or solicit neighbors to collect food items for a local food bank.
  7. Donate in memory of the deceased. There are so many worthy organizations that help the under-served or choose an organization within the community that has experienced violence.

We feel powerless in the wake of such relentless tragedy and yet we can channel our grief to facilitate healing. If we become a beacon of kindness, we’ll project an atmosphere of optimism and everyone around us will feel better. The ability to make even the smallest difference will help us to grieve, cope, and empower ourselves and our communities to heal.


Robbie Miller Kaplan is an author who writes from a unique perspective as a mother who has lost two children. She has written How to Say It When You Don't Know What to Say, a guide to help readers communicate effectively when those they care about experience loss, now at a reduced price for e-books for "Illness & Death," "Suicide," "Miscarriage," "Death of a Child," "Death of a Stillborn or Newborn Baby," "Pet Loss," "Caregiver Responsibilities," "Divorce" and "Job Loss." All titles are in Amazon's Kindle Store.

Photo: This little light of mine via photopin (license)

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