Is tragedy necessary for growth? Tony shares his personal experience of trying to navigate the complex emotions around a car crash involving his daughter Alexa and how difficult it can be to access tools of healing when you are the one impacted by the tragedy. Tony references the article "The Ethics of Tragedy," by Susi Ferrarello Ph.D. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lying-the-philosophers-couch/201706/the-ethics-tragedy and "Finding Purpose in the Face of Tragedy and Adversity," by Ralph Lewis M.D. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/finding-purpose/201811/finding-purpose-in-the-face-tragedy-and-adversity
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[00:00:00] Hey, everybody, welcome to the virtual couch, I'm your host, Tony Overbay, and today I think I will actually be laying down on the couch and you will be my therapist. I'm not even quite sure where to start with today's episode, but I guess I can start with what I know best, which is my own experience.
[00:00:16] Saturday this last Saturday, just a few days ago, my wife, Wendy and I were out car
[00:00:20] Shopping, and that is a long story in and of itself. We had just left the dealership so incredibly frustrated for every reason that you can probably think of. That has to do with trying to buy a car, especially in the current market. But we move over to another dealership and a salesman is just starting in and I'm noticing that I'm starting to go flat. My affect is starting to go flat when I get a phone call from my son in law. Mitch and Mitch is an amazing person. We we are growing closer and closer. He and I text we have family group texts, but he doesn't normally call, so I immediately take it, and I will never forget the feeling that immediately welled up inside of me as he shared that our oldest daughter, Alex, his wife, had been in a very serious car accident, and I was terrified that the next words were going to be that she she had made it. And even talking about this right now causes my heart rate to elevate and tears to, well, up in my eyes. And he went on to say that someone had run a red light and had hit her, and she had been rushed to an emergency room somewhere. I believe outside of Phenix, Arizona, we're in Northern California, and my wife, Wendy could tell at that point that something was wrong and we headed outside and I tell her that Alex has been in a car wreck.
[00:01:27] She's alive, but it sounds like she's in pretty bad shape. And initially we hear that she has a collapsed, punctured lung, bruised kidney, lacerated spleen, which we still are not quite sure what a spleen is, but it may need to be removed. And her pelvis has several breaks and there's going to be a lot of work done. And Wendy and I immediately just start driving home and we both start sobbing. And I've never felt so helpless about anything in my entire life. I've never felt like I wanted to trade places with someone more. I've never wanted to figure out a way to rewind time. I've never felt so much gratitude that she was alive, mixed with with honestly anger for the driver who ran the red light. I wanted to be strong for my wife and that very moment, and I also wanted to pull over and cry and weep until I ran out of tears. Mitch had asked me, What do we do? And Wendy is asking, What should we do? And I'm wondering, what do we do? Because there is absolutely no manual? There are no drills to run or to prepare yourself for that very moment in time.
[00:02:22] And I'm trying to tell myself everything that I tell clients, you do what you feel is best. That is the right answer or you follow your gut. But here I was experiencing so many raw emotions. My mind was going just so fast that I can't even come close to accessing those tools that I feel so confident about when I'm speaking about them in front of weather, hundreds of people in an auditorium or tens of thousands of people on a podcast, or even one on one in a therapy session. And truthfully, I realized that no one really does know what they're going to do in any given situation until that situation occurs. And I'm learning so many things throughout this process and granted at the time of this recording, it has been seventy two hours, actually a little bit less since the accident happened. But while I do not have a desire to make my daughter's car accident about me, I cannot help but to look at the last seventy two hours with such amazement, a curiosity of how we process grief, what trauma feels like for those standing helplessly outside of the trauma itself, and to what every experience that we go through in life can teach us.
[00:03:22] Because it truly
[00:03:24] You recognize that life is the greatest teacher, but I would rather not have to take this current class. Maybe I can take it later in life. You know, the one where you have to watch somebody that you care so deeply about go through such an excruciating experience purely at the hands of another Saturday morning. Alex had left her home, and thankfully, I believe at this point she remembers none of this, but she had spoken with her husband. She had left her home and she was heading to the gym, and months ago she had gotten serious with her diet and her exercise, and she's in the best shape of her life period. And in doing so, she's motivated a few of us in my family to start cleaning up our diets, being a little more intentional about our workouts. And she had also started a new internship as an ultrasound tech just a couple of weeks ago, and she's into this six month experience that is necessary to graduate and to enter the workforce, which we've now learned is going to be put on hold. It's an experience that she loves. She's excelled at radiology school, and this internship was the experience that would set her firmly on this career path that she's worked so hard to achieve. And yet, in one fell swoop, one time of watching a light turned green and making a left turn at an intersection that she had gone through hundreds and hundreds of times before her life is forever altered.
[00:04:36] And when I'm counseling with others, I talk so passionately about acceptance. I think it might have even been last week that I did an episode on radical acceptance. We want to know what the plan is. We want certainty, we want order. And unfortunately, that is not the way that life works. Yes, things happen. Only they aren't fair. But with that acceptance, you can now take charge of what you want to do moving forward. And I had an. Fortunate experience when I was first seeking licensure as a therapist where thanks to up to a nine month delay in verifying paperwork at that time thanks to budget crisis and the state of California, I had received notice over nine months after submitting my three thousand internship hours to sit for licensing exams that I calculated some of the numbers and the time frame incorrectly. So at that point, I was literally nine months behind in what the board required for licensure, and I had no recourse for that because to file an appeal could take up to a year. So it took me another two years to make up for that error and had the paperwork processing times been what they were today. I might have learned that information two to four weeks after I had submitted my paperwork, which might have added maybe an additional two to three months, not two years under the process.
[00:05:45] Acceptance. I remember it being so difficult at that time, but having someone else's actions put my daughter in a position where a slight tweaking of variables, the speed of the truck running the red light or angle of the collision or you name it. And we could have been looking at a much worse situation for my daughter. Well, then the idea of acceptance is so hard, and I know that at some point down the road, I will absolutely want to talk to Alex about all of these things from her experience. So for now, I only know of my own experience. Wendy flew immediately to Arizona, and our youngest son is a senior and in his final home game of basketball, a senior night. It was the last night I stayed for senior night and I know many of you have experienced this. But when you watch high school sports over the years, there's a game typically at some point in the season. And if you don't have a senior, you may not even be paying attention where all of a sudden the senior players and their parents are announced and they escort them to midcourt, they wave. Everyone gets emotional. And Wendy and I have been dreading this senior night this entire season.
[00:06:42] So the decisions that had to be made thanks to the situation were cropping up everywhere. Jake, my son, who is amazing Wendy, said that she felt so bad, but Alex was heading into surgery yesterday, the day of senior night for my son Jake. They were trying to put the pieces back together of a fractured pelvis, and thankfully I can say that the surgery was an amazing success. And Jake, my son, is close to Alex. Ironically, they had been through someone running a red light and crashing into them when Alex was in high school. And he's shared with Wendy that he would almost have felt worse if she had thought she had to not be there for Alex's recovery from surgery. So last night, Jake was escorted by me and his girlfriend, Taylor, and the announcer said the following and it really was beautiful, he said. Jake Overbay is escorted by his father, Tony Overbay, and his girlfriend, Taylor, Jake's mother, Wendy, who has never missed one of Jake's games as attending to Jake's older sister, Alexa. Also a former Lincoln high graduate tonight and wishes that she could be here. Alexa was unfortunately in a car accident in Arizona over the weekend. She was hit by a driver who ran a red light. She suffered serious injuries, but happy to report that she underwent successful surgery today and she's on the road to recovery.
[00:07:46] The entire Overbay family would like to say thank you for the overwhelming amount of love and support that has been offered over the past few days. It's filmed somewhere, but I don't know if I want to see that I leaned over to Jake and I said trying not to cry. And I've seen my trying not to cry face. It's not pretty. I should have just cried. But it was quite an incredible moment. And what caused me to initially want to even record this episode was my experience on Sunday. So Wendy was with Alex in Arizona. She wasn't going to be able to have surgery until Monday. She was a lot of heavy medication and thankfully there is FaceTime. My other kids were in various places around the country or doing things, and so I spent Sunday mostly alone. And I didn't think in anticipation of this because I've never been through a first Sunday with a daughter in a different state and a wife there and processing these complex emotions. And I spent that alone, and I say it that way because so often people find themselves in these situations where then they are alone. When I'm talking with people who have gone through divorce or who have gone through grief and loss, and they find themselves in a position. And now all of a sudden, it's too late not to sound dramatic, but they're already caught up in their feelings and their emotions.
[00:08:55] And then they get to play, though what's wrong with me? Card And as much as I always say notice, notice those thoughts. Notice those feelings except them. And then take action on something that matters or take action on anything. There I was Sunday, and I found myself over and over again, not wanting to do anything. And then I would do every tool that I preach to people noticing that I don't want to do anything excepting that I don't want to do anything looking at it with curiosity. Oh wow. Check that out. Look at me not wanting to do anything, and I continued not to do anything, and I had the thoughts of just get up and do do anything, but I found myself just not wanting to do that. And so even this amazing tool of expansion that I talk about often that I can use easily when I don't want to do push ups, I can invite myself not wanting to do push ups down onto the ground and do now hundreds of pushups each day and feel a great sense of purpose and satisfaction from that. But here I was the first time that I've ever been through this experience. Still, with this mindfulness, this awareness and not wanting to do anything about it. And I recognize that a lot of the times, too when I talk.
[00:09:59] Out in noticing the feelings, noticing the thoughts and inviting them to come along and do something, take action on something of value. I also remember that maybe I'm starting to get a little bit too far away from just being able to be OK with feeling that how often are we turning to things to then mask those feelings now? The question, I think often is, well, how long? How long do you sit with those feelings? How long do you sit with those emotions? And I think that so many things are occurring Sunday that I started jotting down notes. And so I guess I could say that that was doing something, but I noticed that there was a difference in just wanting to be and feel and being aware of feelings and recognizing that I'm a human being and I'm going through this for the first time ever, this exact moment in time. And so just to truly look at my thoughts with curiosity and not try to run away from them, not try to run away from them into a game or, well, I did eat a lot. Oh, my goodness. If I had to do say that, I did do one thing. It was drowned my sorrows in a lot of food, and I realized even that was interesting. So when you start to feel down and you want that bump, that dopamine bump, what gives you more of that than absolutely sugary? Not good for you, foods.
[00:11:12] And so I did notice as I was opening Reese's Peanut Butter Cup after Reese's Peanut Butter Cup that that is something I'm doing. And then it gives me this little euphoric high four seconds. If that and then turning to the next and to the next. Until then, my stomach finally says this is not a euphoric high anymore. So there were still these moments of looking at things with curiosity, but I thought it was so fascinating. Of the difference between wanting to just tune out, wanting to turn to something as an unhealthy coping mechanism like food, like games. I think I played an amazing amount of solitaire on Sunday, but then also recognizing that it was OK to sit with my emotions and to then just feel them to not try to run away from them. And that as I sat with them and as I had just cry after cry after cry, which is something I haven't done, and I can't even tell you how long that there was a real cleansing power in accepting the emotions, because that's the way my body wanted to process this emotion. And then I felt like the more that I could express those emotions, the more I found myself just on the verge of tears at any given moment and then allowing myself to lean into those that then the tears maybe weren't as as profound or they weren't there as long.
[00:12:25] And I'm not saying that like tears don't serve a purpose, but I found that the holding back of them was far more effort than the leaning into them. They're leaning into the emotions, leaning into the sadness. Leaning into the sorrow was absolutely, in my words, a productive thing to do, because if I'm looking at this goal of authenticity, then I authentically was sad. I authentically wanted to grieve and to mourn, and as I leaned into that that I found that I could work through those emotions. And then that was when I felt like, OK, if I need to get up and take the garbage out because Sunday night's garbage night, then I was able to do that. And now I can use those tools of expansion. Now I can invite not wanting to take the garbage out to come along with me while I did it, but I felt like it was first after I accepted the situation that I was in, that I accepted the feelings and the emotions that I was. Having leaned into them, embrace them, worked through them, had them and then gave myself grace and understood that, wow, this is the first time I've gone through this, and this is how I feel.
[00:13:25] It was really interesting. So there was such strength in learning this difference between the experiential avoidance of just not wanting to do so. I'll do anything other than wanting to feel in the moment versus just acceptance, radical acceptance and accepting the fact that this is how I feel. And notice it. Notice those thoughts. Notice those feelings. Check them out. And then really leaning into that, that sorrow, that grief or that pain in that moment and then really feeling those emotions not running away from those emotions, but working through and getting to the other side of those emotions so that then I could take action on things that mattered, things that of value and taken connection with other people. So I thought that was one of the biggest takeaways. I also thought another thing was interesting. If I go on a quick side note hundreds of episodes ago now, which is fun to say, I did a two part series on my own discovery of my ADHD inattentive type and discovering that in my mid to pushing late 40s and realizing that for me, medication was something that has been an incredible asset. After becoming medicated, I was able to accomplish so many more things once I had a little bit more of that direction, but also one of the side effects of any of the ADHD medications. The Stimulants is a loss of appetite.
[00:14:42] And I realize boy
[00:14:44] Talk about learning empathy in a very interesting way that when I've talked with clients and they've talked about not wanting to eat and then not wanting to eat all day, that causes them to then feel anxious or feel these symptoms that are similar to anxiety because. At some point now they are calorie deprived, they are they are not hydrated well, and so their body is starting to react more and they aren't being able to stay as present or emotionally regulated because their body is saying, Hey, can we eat something now that having my appetite
[00:15:15] Absolutely disappear
[00:15:16] Was something I had never experienced in my entire life? And in that very moment, it gave me so much more empathy for people that say they don't have an appetite before I thought, You do. I don't understand the words that you're saying. You mean you're not trying to think already about where you're going to eat lunch or what you're gonna have for dinner in the morning and learning that that was my experience. And it may be the experience of a lot of others, but that doesn't mean that it's everyone's experience. And so that same principle of sometimes you have to go through things to understand things in order to have more empathy for others was absolutely true. Whether it was learning that through the ADHD medication and understanding, oh, for the first time in my life, I may have forgotten to eat throughout the day because the medication masks that feeling of hunger. That doesn't mean that you don't need the calories so you can find yourself later in the day almost feeling shaky or anxious. And so now my fridge in my offices is chock full of protein shakes and those type of things. But I just thought it was so fascinating to then recognize that I was experiencing that same thing Sunday, not the food part.
[00:16:17] Again, I could eat like a champ, but I was experiencing that concept of I didn't know what I didn't know. I didn't know that when I would just tell people via podcast or speaking that it's so easy to recognize thoughts and feelings and emotions. Think your brain for them and invite them to come along with you while you take action. Until I was in the spot where that felt like a tool that was so far away that I could barely even remember that there was a tool. I think one of the best things, though, was recognizing if I couldn't access that tool at the time to just even notice that that that was interesting and to give myself grace, because the more that we get away from the beating ourselves up and the more we can look at anything, which is that curiosity, then I promise you that is the way you're going to be able to get to that tool sooner. It doesn't mean that you're going be able to get to that tool even in that same day, but you're going to get there much sooner when you accept the fact that this is the way I'm feeling and I'm noticing that I can't even access the tool because that's where your brain is going to say, I feel like it's going to say, OK, fine, we'll we'll get you the tool soon.
[00:17:15] Right now, we got more, more things to do. We got different, different tasks to undertake. So that's what I wanted to share about my experience, and I wanted to add a little bit more to this episode. And any time that I feel like someone goes through some sort of tragedy or trauma or any of those things, then I feel like it does give one motivation right now. The response of my friends on social media, Instagram and Facebook, and people that have my number and text me and emails and everything has been mind blowing. And I recognize too, that that is not just I need external validation, but it's I need connection and people and compassion, and I'm so grateful for the messages of support that people have sent. It's been amazing. It really has. So from that standpoint, I just say thank you. That makes me feel like I want to even show up more kind, compassionate person and be there for others when I can.
[00:18:06] So I went on a little bit of a dove. I think first I'm going to
[00:18:09] Go philosophical and then we'll go
[00:18:12] Psychological. First up is an article called The Ethics of Tragedy Do We Need Tragedy in Our Lives? By Susie
[00:18:18] Fiorello. She's a Ph.D., and
[00:18:20] She has a section on Psychology Today called Lying on the Philosopher's Couch, and I just want to read this and make a couple of comments, she says. Again, the ethics of tragedy. Do we really need tragedy in our lives? She says at first, the
[00:18:32] Answer seems ridiculously easy. No, thank you.
[00:18:35] And I'm definitely feeling that right now. Yet it seems to me, she says, that only tragedy can successfully nurture our inner ethical compass and our sense of empathetic compassion for others, she says. While our current society seems to praise positive thinking with rivers of smiling emoticons and heart shaped candy. She said I can't help but agree with Nietzsche when he reproaches his contemporaries for having lost their sense of tragedy, and I've
[00:18:58] Often on the podcast and almost maybe to a fault where I get to see that positive thinking is amazing and I do it often I am. I like to think I'm a very I was gonna say I'm the most positive person in the world, but that's pretty arrogant. And I don't know. There's plenty of other people that are, I'm sure, more positive. But while positive thinking can be amazing that then when someone still is met with tragedy or things happen in their lives and then they don't feel as positive, often we go to this what's wrong with me? I woke up today and I told myself that this is going to be an amazing day. So that's why I really feel like this article speaks to this concept of what do we do with tragedy? Do we need tragedy? She says that sometimes the feeling of powerlessness can be a blessing because it increases our ethical awareness without this. And she references of some research by someone with the last name Taylor, she said. As Taylor notes, We run the risk of getting stuck in the trap of deterministic entitlement and proud solitude. So she says, Let me explain if we always have someone else to blame, we can easily end up feeling better than other. And at the same time, and by the way, that's a quick plug of my waking up the narcissism podcast, I talk a lot about emotional immaturity. And if you always have someone to blame, if you don't take ownership of any of your own actions, don't take responsibility. Then when you can blame someone else, it puts you in this sense of entitlement almost as if that person is. I am better than them
[00:20:21] Because it wasn't my fault.
[00:20:22] So, she says, at the same time, if we fail to achieve what we want, then we may feel entitled as if life owes us
[00:20:28] Something more simply put, losing your sense
[00:20:31] Of tragedy may be akin to seeing life as the Calvinist marketplace where you can buy whatever you want. This attitude is produced modern slogans like Don't worry, be happy or don't worry. Work harder. And following this mode of thinking, if you end up being homeless or unhappy, it can only be because you haven't worked hard enough. Or, she says, even more bizarre, you haven't put in sufficient effort into thinking positively. So that's where I think that is so amazing. And maybe that's what tragedy often does is it
[00:20:58] Is just something
[00:21:00] That we need in our lives to to keep us, I don't know, saying humble is the right word, or just let us recognize that we can work hard and we can tell ourselves we're going to be happy, but then tragedy can strike and then our humanness kicks in. And it doesn't mean that it's because we didn't work hard enough or we didn't think positively enough that for some reason now we're being punished. I don't believe that at all, and I feel like that's the part where we have to just take a look at what is tragedy and what does it provide for us. If anything, it's a continued opportunity to recognize that we are not necessarily in control of everything in the universe. And while that can seem scary, what it can actually do is help us understand that, OK, if we are not, then we can accept that, and now we can work with acceptance of whatever that life does bring us. This goes back to that book the road less traveled, which says some of the opening lines are that life is difficult. But once we accept the fact that life is difficult, then we're no longer wondering why? Why is life difficult as if we are owed to something less than what life can offer us. But once we accept that life is difficult. Now what are we going to do with it now, OK? It's difficult.
[00:22:08] Something came into my path that is difficult. With that acceptance, I'm going to take action and figure out what do I learn from this and what can I do with this new information? So that was the philosophical and let me just go quickly into the psychological again. Back to Psychology Today and an article by Dr. Ralph Lewis, and he has a section on the website as well called Finding Purpose. And he says finding purpose in the face of tragedy and adversity, purposefully creating goodness from random suffering and senseless malevolence. He quotes the film director Stanley Kubrick, who says the most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile, but that it's indifferent. But if we can come to terms with this indifference and accept the challenges of life within the boundaries of death, then our existence as a species can have genuine meaning and fulfillment. However vast the darkness, we need to supply our own light. That's filmmaker Stanley Kubrick. He talks about how we want to know that our lives matter, but to whom or what. He shares that religious people want the universe to care. Secular people want people to care. And then, he says the secular, naturalistic perspective is that meaning in life is something that we make ourselves. It's driven by our innate motivation and by our intensely social instincts that we can and do care about our own lives and about those of our fellow human beings, even if the universe doesn't.
[00:23:22] I love the way he puts us, he says. We are wired to care. We have evolved to care whether the universe cares or not. He talks about legacy and making good from bad, saying that regardless of whether people believe that everything happens for a reason or believe in a higher plan, or regardless of how resilient or vulnerable they are, most are able to derive some meaning in the face of adversity. And if some good comes from the suffering of misfortune for themselves or others. People are often remarkably adept at achieving this, he says. The the good that people make from bad usually does not make the bad event worthwhile, let alone indicate that the event was cosmically intended. But it can help people deal with their trauma and derive some meaning from it. And man, I talk about trauma on a daily basis, and right now I feel that I feel that this sense of trauma, of trying to process what has happened with my daughter and it didn't happen to me, it happened to her. So he says that most of us are inclined to strive to make the world a better, more caring place for ourselves and others, and many of us are motivated to produce a good result from a terrible event.
[00:24:20] Some people believe that this inner strength is in itself God given, and it can be empowering to realize that this motivation comes from within us. So we tend to acquire greater personal growth, insight, compassion. All of these things can come through adversity. Then, when we are cruising comfortably through life and we're in a better position to identify with and help others experiencing adversity after we have experienced it ourselves. And that's the part where I continually say this phrase of we don't know what we don't know, and we don't have to go find the tools until we need the tools. And so as much as I like to say that I know what awareness and bringing myself back to the present and looking at thoughts as. Productive and unproductive. That is a lot easier to talk about until then, you are now the one that is in that midst in the darkness and feeling like, OK, I'm very aware of the tools, but I just feel like I can't reach them, that I can't reach this concept of just noticing a thought. Noticing anger and then not taking action on it because it's OK, then to feel the feelings. And oftentimes, I feel like that's the big question of what does processing mean or how long do we let ourselves sit in grief or sorrow? And the answer as cliched as this is, is as long as one needs to, that there's no formulaic way to grieve because everyone's bringing up their own experiences into grief, this trauma that I feel from what my daughter has gone through.
[00:25:43] It just hits me at my core of feeling like I wasn't there to protect her. Now, is it my job to follow her around all the time or wrap around bubble wrap? No, but it's absolutely OK. And it's a feel the sense of I failed her that I couldn't protect her and then and I can't magically think my way out of that one. I can't just say, yeah, but I just need to look at it this way that she's alive. And while I'm so grateful for that, it just it just kills me that she had to go through that. And while as I'm sitting here reading this this Psychology Today article saying that, OK, but when we go through these events, we are in a better position to identify with and help others experiencing adversity than having not experienced it at all. I believe that with every core of my being. But I recognize that that's a really difficult tool to grasp or skill to use in that moment of tragedy at times. And so I'm really recognizing that boy, when you are going through something that that it's OK to just feel all the feelings and just to sit with that and it's OK and not try to run away from the feelings because I think we need to feel them.
[00:26:48] We need to feel that grief. We need to feel that sorrow. We need to mourn with others. We need to have this communal experience of people saying that, man, I am so sorry for what you're going through. I can't imagine, but I'm here for you. And that's the experience that boy my family is sure felt right now. Does it make everything better? No. But does it help us feel like, OK, we're trying to gather some sense of not even meaning, but what do we do with this tragedy or what do we do with this trauma? A couple more things. Ralph Lewis then went on to say that our social relationships are a powerful source of meaningfulness in good times and in bad. The simple empathy and emotional support that people instinctively offer each other in times of tragedy and suffering are highly meaningful to the sufferer, even if only through consolation. And that's what I'm talking about. That's what this experience is, is really brought me now. Did my daughter have to get in a wreck so that then I could have this communal experience? Absolutely not. And I wish again. I wish I could build a time machine. I wish I could take that pain and wish we could remove this
[00:27:42] Entire thing because I want to say at my
[00:27:44] Core, I appreciate this communal experience, and I'm so grateful for it. But I wish I didn't even have to experience this, and I certainly wish that my daughter didn't have to go through what she's going through right now. But again, this support helps us feel that what happens to us matters to other people, and ultimately we care most about what other human beings think of us, not whether the cosmos than necessarily care about us. He goes on to finish by saying, When we contemplate our own deaths, most of us hope that we will leave a legacy no matter how modest it can be. That can be comforting and validating to know that we have had a strong, positive impact on others, and it can also be consoling to see that something good might come out of something bad. Perhaps some positive impact on one more thing. He does say that in the worst cases, when meaning is hard to find, and I think this gets a little bit deep. He said. Of course, it can be challenging to find meaning in death and dying, and he says, Bear with me for a moment and allow yourself to consider this hard fact that there is no avoiding the reality that many lives in tragically are brutally without inherently meaningful endings and the very worst scenarios when we're powerless to help people in such circumstances, they're still something partially consoling that we can do is bear witness and show that we care.
[00:28:50] He said. We can try to derive life lessons from the experiences of these people, and if there is an opportunity, we should tell them the profound impact that they have on us. And he talks about how he's been fortunate and privileged to have the opportunity to do this with some of his terminally ill cancer patients that he's worked with as a doctor. But he said we should commit to applying the lessons from their suffering to teach and help others or on an individual or societal level. And he said this is also the basis to never forget an atrocity that our empathy is enhanced when we bear in mind that such lives and deaths could just have easily been our own. And sometimes we can only express and demonstrate the impact of a person's life after they've died. And we hope in that case that they died knowing that their life and death would matter to others. He says one common response to tragedy misfortune is the drive to make some lasting change that will reduce the chance of similar misfortune, be falling others. And we see this in efforts to improve early warning systems for earthquakes or tsunamis, or, he says, in coroner's inquest and improved safety regulations following accidents caused by human error and donations from medical research and doubt in the name of a person who's died from a particular disease or from suicide and in campaigns for greater public safety in the aftermath of senseless killings.
[00:29:55] I'm grateful to be able to process this on a podcast. And I didn't know what direction I would go, but I appreciate the support that has already been offered by people who listen to the podcast, the people in my, my area, my community. And again, this isn't even I'm not the one that experienced the the trauma. But yet it really does cause you to take a look at those things that are important and what can tragedy teach us? And not that anyone wants to have to go through tragedy, but it's this acceptance of tragedy that then what can we do? What can we learn? And that doesn't mean that it needed to happen so that we could learn this lesson, but instead it happened. So what lesson can we learn? I appreciate all the support. There's been so many people that have sent emails and through Instagram and Facebook and direct messages, and I just appreciate that and I hope that suffering or struggling that there's been something traumatic or something that has happened to you or your family. And it doesn't make sense, and it's been hard
[00:30:51] To to get out of bed or to move forward that you recognize. That's OK. And there's some acceptance that
[00:30:57] That is part of the human experience
[00:30:58] And making sense of tragedy.
[00:31:01] I don't know if it will ever make sense, but then with an acceptance that these things happen and what do we learned? We learn more empathy. Do we learn more compassion? We learn that people can truly be good and they're for each other. And even if that is a temporary thing to get us through a moment that just understanding that that really is. It's powerful. It's part of the human experience to have this connection with others. And sometimes we have feeling more of that connection through times of grief or sadness or sorrow than we do even in sharing in positive experiences of joy or hope.
[00:31:31] I hope everybody has an amazing week.
[00:31:33] I appreciate you listening to the podcast and we'll see you next time on the virtual couch.