81ºF

Dealing with grief after tragedy

Shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando affects many

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando has impacted many communities, and may make people feel more vulnerable and helpless, said Marilyn Jones, a bereavement and community grief manager with Community Hospice. 

Jones said grief can affect people in surprising ways, especially if they lost someone personally. She said there's no longer a rule of thumb for steps to deal with grief. 

"Maybe even being surprised, we can be grieving when we don't know someone personally that was killed in this tragedy. And that's a form of what we call disenfranchised grief," Jones said.

WATCH: Community Hospice is resource for grief counseling

Jones also said the shooting at Pulse might have many people feeling like the world is out of control, which is exactly what UNF student Christopher Jordan said he's dealing with. 

"I or my friends could have easily been at Pulse that night. We're college students. We want to go out, be young, be ourselves," Jordan said. "Just going to a nightclub can be a life of death endeavor."

Jordan said it's important to reach out to others, which is in line with what Cindy Watson of JASMYN community resource center practices. 

"The way that we respond to trauma, effectively or helpfully, is to be able to share it, to be able to have others shoulder it with us, to be able to talk about it and cry about it and release some of that pain. For LGBT young people, many have experienced bullying, harassment and acts of violence themselves for being LGBT in this community. And so, an incident like that triggers all those experiences," Watson said.

Jones said finding an outlet, like donating blood or bringing food to those waiting in line to donate blood can help with dealing with grief, but so can talking and listening. 

"Accept where that person is, to just listen and be supportive and nonjudgmental," Jones said.

News4Jax also spoke with a priest at San Jose Episcopal, who encourages people to reach out to their own religious leader.