Where Do We Go Now?: Grieving and isolation in the wake of UConn tragedy


Photo by     Irina Anastasiu      via      Pexels

Photo by Irina Anastasiu via Pexels

Numbness. That is all the feeling that can possibly be going around the campus right now. Faced with another tragedy, it’s hard to even put into words the damage that our communities and the student body at large are facing right now. Despite any efforts to quell us with emails, the university cannot do anything on its own to mend the fear, the anxiety, the pain, all of the emotions flowing through us all. 

I do not want to talk about the specifics of any recent events around campus. I could not give justice to any of it. Information on this may be found in other sections, correspondence with the university or on the minds of every student here. However, I would be doing a disservice to this campus if I did not use this given space to say something. And so, I want to talk about grieving, isolation and the way forward. 

I feel like a mess right now, myself. I’m still not sure exactly why, beyond just the weight of everything that has happened bearing down. But that’s okay. Whatever you are feeling right now, it is what it is. It’s important to keep that in mind for those around you as well. With that, we may try to find some solace in that we are not alone. Just as you may be hurting reading this or going about your day, so too are those around you. And while we cannot all be healed by this fact, we can at least take refuge in those around us knowing this.  

However you feel is best to grieve and reflect in this time, please do it. The only thing I want to disadvise specifically is isolation. It may be tempting to withdraw as you reflect on everything happening, but do not do so entirely. Not only are those close to you also hurting, but it will also help you to not be alone.  

Alone, all these sensations may swirl in your head with no outlet — a dangerous cocktail of pent-up frustration and hurt. It’s healthy to stew on all this for a time, but you run the risk of just retreading the same pain in the same place over and over. It will break you. Whether you talk about this directly with others or discuss something — anything — else, spending time with others can release the pressure building up just a bit.  

I did not know anyone involved personally. I was not in the same major, the same classes, the same friend groups, the same clubs, anything. And yet, I feel deeply broken by all of this, beaten down along with them. For a long while, I did not understand why. I felt guilty, as if I was stealing grief from those who were feeling it the most. For whatever differences there may be, though, we are all sharing this experience together — as UConn students, as undergraduates, as humans. Seeing and feeling and empathizing with what has happened to another, it’s difficult not to find yourself shattering alongside.  

UConn has responded well to this most recent tragedy so far. In particular, President Thomas Katsouleas was genuine and sensitive in his address to the students. I want to highlight a line of his email now: “We are all in this together, and the best we can do is to support each other at times like this. Your help in being proactive and caring will make a difference.” 

It would be reductive to say we must just move on, but it is important to not lose sight of the beauty we experience around us, including and especially in times like this. It can be easiest to see this a couple months down the road, when the weather outside stops reflecting the emotions inside, but this beauty can also be found in those around you who care. Even though there is a lot of bad going on right now, there is also some good out there. It’s critical that we don’t lose sight of that. 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by individual writers in the opinion section do not reflect the views and opinions of The Daily Campus or other staff members. Only articles labeled “Editorial” are the official opinions of The Daily Campus.

Peter Fenteany is the associate opinion editor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at peter.fenteany@uconn.edu.

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