When Tragedy Happens

Updated: Oct 23

Disclaimer: I am not a licensed mental healthcare professional, so please make sure to speak to a licensed therapist or doctor if you are in a rough place. If you are in crisis, please call 988 or 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.


Judy is sitting at her desk writing a report when she suddenly feels a bit dizzy and has a short blackout. Later, her physician runs some tests at the local hospital emergency department and refers her results to a specialist. In looking at the results, they know they will have to conduct a difficult conversation with Judy.

Candice is out with the kids enjoying their outing at a nearby park. She smiles as her youngest, Magdon, chases after leaves blowing in the wind, arms windmilling around as he jumps and dances in the grass. Interrupted by the sudden chime of her phone, she notices the call is from her mom. As she listens to the voice on the other side telling her of a tragedy in the family, the formerly happy moment has transformed into shock and despair.

There are times when life changes within moments, and the future is dramatically altered!

What changed? The impact of information in our brains tilts our world into chaos. It is like a heavy Mack truck smashing into our car. The normalcy of life has been slammed, and we may shut down or go into emergency mode. Our destination has been interrupted. We won't arrive on our preferred schedule or in the condition we had imagined. Perhaps it's health, finance, personal, or business loss. But our life, emotions, thoughts, and reactions are impacted in every case.

This letter attempts to help in times of need and to provide a perspective of peace and perhaps even healing. There are no easy answers here. However, there are some things you can do to ride out the storm with the least possible damage.

Breathe, drink, and eat.

  • Sometimes there is a tendency to hyperventilate and breathe shallowly. Use Mindfulness techniques to practice deep breathing.

  • It is essential to hydrate with water. Avoid coffee or other stimulants which can push you over the edge. In the same way, too much alcohol can be abusive.

  • You don't want to overeat, but it is crucial to have sustenance to keep your strength going.

Accept Help

  • Although you need time to be alone and process your feelings, the right companionship can help carry you through.

  • Sometimes, a trusted physician can help guide you to a mental health professional for treatment. This may include medication to help get you through the difficult passage.

  • People are well-meaning but can also be thoughtless as well as thoughtful. Try to maintain your kindness, grace, and appreciation, even if the help is misguided.


  • The practice of mindfulness can be helpful in times of stress. Mindfulness is simply becoming aware of your situation, thoughts, and emotions in the current moment, releasing what is past, and not striving to predict the future.

  • There are many ways to practice mindfulness, which have become mainstream in society. By way of the Internet, there are many resources to help guide you.

  • Professional counselors and groups also provide information and an arena where you can practice this skill.

Take a Chance

  • You may or may not have a belief in a higher power, commonly referred to as God. In either case, take a chance, try something different and ask God for help. You may be surprised at the results.

  • Do you have trusted friends? If not, take a chance and begin to cultivate some much-needed relationships. The process is not a quick turnaround, and it will take a good deal of time and intentionality to form accountable relationships that are trustworthy with positive outcomes for you.

  • Take a chance on life. Life can be hard to bear, and it can be easy to opt-out. Take a chance that the light at the end of the tunnel is not an oncoming train but the sunshine of a new day.


H Mark Taylor is an Independent Certified Coach, Teacher, Trainer, and Speaker with Maxwell Leadership Team.


My Storm

God beckoned me into the boat, and so I climbed aboard. I trusted we, smooth sailing be, and smiled about the chord. But soon, the waves and winds were rough, the weather was a gale. I looked around, but God was gone and so began to bail. In due time the water rose, my ankles, then my knees. There was no time to raise a prayer or think about the breeze. Then suddenly, upon the waves, a figure walked and came. He stopped and watched my flailing arms, and then he called my name. “Step out of that sinking boat and walk a bit towards me.” I did, I sank, he grabbed my hand, and suddenly the sea was like glass and so I stood upon the sandy beach. I wondered at his hand in mine, God within my reach. © copyright 2021 h mark taylor


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