On April 15th, the city of Boston and the country at large will remember the tragic events that took place at the Boston Marathon one year ago. Events will offer tribute to the lives lost, those who were injured in the bombing and their families, the first responders and the witnesses. We will collectively mourn the loss and send our love and sympathy to Boston and everyone touched by the events of that day.
One week later, on April 21, the 2014 Boston Marathon will take place.
In a prior posts about 9/11 memorials, we talked about dealing with difficult anniversaries, noting that:

For many, public memorials and acknowledgments are therapeutic. They are a way to express and share grief in a communal way. They are intended to memorialize those who died and to offer support and comfort to those who survived.

But for some people, these collective outpourings can have unintended consequences. While the national mantra “never forget” may be intended to respect and memorialize the victims, it can also send an unintended message to survivors by trapping them in their grief. A goal of mourning should be for survivors deal with their loss and eventually move on with living productive lives. It is normal for survivors to come to grips with their loss and, at some point, to detach from the deceased without feeling disloyal or feeling that they are “forgetting” the decedent. It can be extremely difficult for survivors of very public tragedies to move on because they become inadvertent symbols of the event during anniversaries, whether they want to be or not. While offering support is important, we must allow people to mourn and memorialize in the way that works best for them.

Boston Marathon Anniversary Resources
The Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance, MOVA, is working with service providers throughout Massachusetts and the rest of the country to try to ensure that those who were affected by the bombings receive needed support and services on their paths to recovery and healing. To find out more about available services from MOVA, please call 617-586-1340, send an email to mova@state.ma.us, or visit www.mass.gov/mova/boston-marathon.
See the AEAP Fact Sheet January 2014 (PDF) for other resources.
Resiliency Forums – Starting in March 2014, MOVA will host “Resiliency Forums” for victims of the bombings and their families, caretakers, and significant others. These Resiliency Forums will provide victims with the opportunity to learn about the long term impact of grief, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), hearing loss, as well as long term strategies for resiliency and recovery. These forums will also serve as regular opportunities for victims to connect with one another and with providers to exchange ”best practices” regarding long term recovery and healing.
Resiliency Forums will only be open to victims and survivors and will be available via live secured streaming feed on the web. To receive further information about the upcoming Resiliency Forums, please contact Susan Vickers at 617-586-1352/617-549-9542 or via email at Susan.Vickers@state.ma.us
Marathon Recovery Resources
The One Fund
Post Traumatic Stress
Anniversaries of tragic or traumatic events can kick up memories, depression and stress for not only those who were involved in the events, it can also trigger reactions in anyone who has experienced violent or traumatic events.
The following are some of the symptoms of PTSD. If you or someone you know experiences several of these, it may indicate PTSD and professional help should be sought.

  • Recurring thoughts or nightmares about the event; “flashbacks,” accompanied by painful emotions
  • Trouble sleeping because of nightmares
  • Anxiety and fear, especially when exposed to situations reminiscent of the trauma
  • Being on edge, being easily startled or overly alert
  • Feeling depressed, sad and having low energy
  • Feeling “scattered” and unable to focus on work or daily activities; difficulty making decisions
  • Feeling irritable, easily agitated or resentful
  • Feeling emotionally “numb,” withdrawn or disconnected from others, and avoiding close emotional ties with family, friends and co-workers
  • Spontaneously crying, feeling a sense of despair and hopelessness
  • Feeling that danger is constantly near and being extremely protective of, or fearful for, the safety of loved ones

Prior related posts
Resources in the Aftermath of the Boston Marathon Bombing

ESI-Logo.jpg A good EAP is an important resource for helping people to deal with or cope in the aftermath of traumatic events, offering important support resources for your managers and help for troubled employees. In addition, ESI EAP offers trained response teams for on-site trauma intervention. If you want to learn more about how ESI can provide more employee EAP benefits and more employer services, call us at 800-535-4841.


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