Monday, March 20, 2017

A conversation with USA based correspondent on handling trauma of losing 3 close friends to murder in a short period

Given below are selected portions of my part of a recent conversation with a USA based correspondent about handling trauma of losing close friends to murder in the USA. It has minimal context info. about the correspondent's parts of the conversation including some quotes from her responses.

Note that the conversation has some simultaneously typed messages by the correspondent and me and so some responses of one correspondent would be to previous to immediately previous message of the other correspondent.

Ravi wrote (edited):
.. Also noted recent (info.) about your grief and pain due to loss of loved ones. I pray to Almighty God to shower His Grace on you and give you strength to bear your grief and pain.

.. May God bless you and the American people. [I am a well wisher of the American people.] Thanks.
---

[USA based Correspondent asked me whether I ever visited the USA. She mentioned her visit to India and how she liked Indian people (in general). She also wrote that she faced "3 murders of 3 close friends within a month" which was "just too much".]

I (Ravi) responded:
.. Yes I have been in the USA for around 2 years in second half of 80s and early 90s. Mostly residing in Nashua, NH and doing software consultancy work in Lowell, MA. I also spent a couple of months in Santa Barbara, CA.
..
About 3 murders of 3 close friends within a month: My mind goes blank at trying to understand what you may be going through. So far, by the grace of God, not one friend of mine has been murdered in India (or elsewhere). Of course, murders do take place in India.

Who killed them? What was their motive? Is it a gun violence problem? These are the questions that jump to my mind. But you must have got sick of talking about it. So don't feel obliged to answer me. I pray to God to give you strength and courage. Take care.
---

[Omitted links provided by correspondent giving the murder & suspected murder accounts. Correspondent also wrote that she knew the two victims and one presumed victim quite well and that they were friends of hers.]

Ravi wrote (slightly edited):
Devastating to read these. The first two murders are family and employee related. Terrifying that people get so desperate that they see only these means of tackling their problems. The third article was not so clear.

That you knew all three people well and used to invite them over to your home, and now they have disappeared (died) in this fashion, is such a traumatic thing. I mean, even for me to read it is so tough. You went through the trauma of it!

All the very best wishes in coping with this trauma. Prayer may help if you are into prayer.
..
About addiction, I read a thought-provoking article about some parts of rural America where some unemployed youth lost hope about their lives and so were more easily attracted to drugs. I think prolonged economic and other trauma makes people more susceptible to taking drugs to try to escape their unhappiness, but perhaps end up in more unhappiness.

Very unfortunately, drug addiction is becoming a problem in some parts of India too, including Punjab which you had written that you have visited in the past.

Sad to know that the youngsters at --'s funeral lacked the sense and respect to stay off from the phones during the funeral.
---

[Correspondent wrote that she is OK but that she thought she is numb. She wrote, "I didn't think I would ever know a victim of homicide in my lifetime. Now all at once 3. Death is a part of life, but not murder. Not only is it difficult to accept or grieve normally you must constantly deal with the courts. A constant reminder. Anger is a normal process in grieving. Now there is more. I try to accept and deal with things intelligently. Not everyone does. The poor families. This really causes you to question yourself. Do you want to forgive the murderers? Do you want the death penalty? Do you want to sit in on a trial and hear every detail? How they may defend their actions?"]

Ravi wrote (edited):
.. I think I can feel some of the trauma that you and others are going through. The murder trial would be a horrific thing to go through. Lawyers have to do their job. Can't blame them. But it can get real nasty.
..
Good point about --. You should do what you can to bring out that he was loved by some people.
---

[Correspondent thanked me for listening.]

Ravi wrote (slightly edited): I am glad I could help you by listening. I guess it is a very busy world nowadays. As I am retired and spend some time on service (to society), I was able to listen to you.
---

[Correspondent wrote: "My tears are gone. I wish I could put it behind me, but I must still be there for him. I hope in -- murder he jumped to escape and I am worried they might reduce the charges to second degree murder."]

Ravi wrote: Can I bring in some other spiritual angles here? Will it disturb you?
---

[Correspondent wrote "Not at all. Please do. I am a very open person who loves to learn. I am spiritual and love intelligent ideas and opinions."]

Ravi wrote:
OK. First let me share what I understand of the Christian view of such tragedies.
---

[Correspondent wrote: "Are you Christian? I think I saw you were."]

Ravi wrote (slightly edited):
Oh! I am a great lover and admirer of Lord Jesus Christ.
But I am a Hindu.
My Hindu religion does not prevent me from worshiping and loving Jesus Christ.

Here's my blog post, The awesome Christian act of forgiveness by the families of the Charleston, USA shooting victims, http://ravisiyer.blogspot.in/2015/06/the-awesome-christian-act-of.html.

I am not so good at forgiveness yet. I am learning.
---

[Correspondent wrote: "I like how you think. Same here. It is hard to forgive. Especially with all of this."]

Ravi wrote (slightly edited):
But for me some of the families in the Charleston church killings, who forgave the killer, even though he did not seek their forgiveness, sets the bar.
I mean I know whom I should look up to for forgiveness. These families of the Charleston church killings (victims).
---

[Correspondent wrote: "I was born a Christian. While in India I stayed with Sikh people and learned all about it."]

Ravi wrote:
I see.
Now I would like to share one Hindu spiritual view of the matter.
---

[Correspondent wrote (slightly edited): "I also knew people in the --- shooting. What a year! Forgiveness is what sets us free. It opens our hearts for greater love. My friend was shot 3 times, but lived. He wasn't a close friend. Please share.]

Ravi wrote (slightly edited):
Oh Lord! You knew some people hurt in even the --- shooting!
What a terrible time it has been for you!
That was UTTER MADNESS.
No motive, just hatred.
Horrible stuff.
Back to one Hindu spiritual view of these matters.
You see, a core belief of Hinduism (and Sikhism, I believe) is Karma.
If one does bad actions, then the divine law of karma sees to it that the person, in this lifetime or later lifetimes (lives), faces the bad karmic reaction consequences of his/her actions.
---

[Correspondent wrote: "I do too. Do you believe in reincarnation? I don't know if I do and in what extent."]

Ravi wrote (slightly edited):
Yes I do (belive in reincarnation).
In India, many people get away with murder LITERALLY.
The law and order system is not that great to catch culprits in all cases.
---

[Correspondent wrote: "I have seen karma happen quickly. That is good to see."]

Ravi wrote (slightly edited):
And then the rich and powerful try to use lawyers to get off the hook.
---

[Correspondent wrote: "They do? I could believe that."]

Ravi wrote:
But the Hindus believe in Karma. We know that even if some of these guys manage to evade justice in the courts of law of the country, the divine court of karma will deliver karmic justice to them.
Did you get that?
---

[Correspondent wrote: "Yes. And I believe in that as well. I do."]

Ravi wrote:
My beloved and revered Guru, Sathya Sai Baba, taught about Karma.
---

[Correspondent wrote (slightly edited): "We also never know what these (how) horrible (they) might feel inside."]

Ravi wrote:
He said almost nobody can escape Karmic effects.
With the very rare exception being those who pray intensely to God who then may forgive/cancel their Karma.
Did you get that?
---

[Correspondent wrote: "Yes. Very much so. And I agree."]

Ravi wrote (slightly edited):
So in this situation from one Hindu spiritual view perspective, I would say that one can go through the criminal justice system for these sad cases of your friends.
---

[Correspondent wrote: "I think that is also why I love my India and the people."]

Ravi wrote:
But not be too fixated on getting punishment from the criminal justice system itself for the killers.
In any case, the killers will not escape the punishment of God/Karma.
And to quote, perhaps the Old Testament, Vengeance is mine said the Lord.
---

[Correspondent wrote: "I also want to be there for the families. I put myself last in order to help them. If they wish to not seek death penalty I will respect that. It isn't about me."]

Ravi wrote:
Yes.
But I suggest that you don't be too fixated on vengeance.
---

[Correspondent wrote: "I love what you are saying. It gives me extra strength. Very helpful. It is hard to find many people in America who mean what you are saying and I need to hear this."]

Ravi wrote:
Who knows? The husband of -- may atone for his sins, and become a loving father of his children.
These kind of things can be transformational.
---

[Correspondent wrote: "I reach out to the families in order to help. There is nothing I can do to bring them back. I take the great qualities and smiles they had with me. I use those things to keep them alive and make a better world for those around me."]

Ravi wrote:
Prayer to God and an atmosphere where the sinner accepts and acknowledges his mistakes, sincerely repents for it, and is given a chance to reform ... would be a good outcome, IMHO.
Noted your support for the families. That's good.
Nice chatting with you --.
Wish you all the best. My prayers to Almighty God to help you and the families who lost their loved ones.
---

[Correspondent wrote: People tend to leave the family alone. They will grieve forever and it is usually months after the loss when they need it the most. Others forget about them. Indian ppl are so respectful, thankful and forgiving. ... Your views are much more like mine and to me it makes total sense. I don't want to lose myself by not being forgiving or only looking at my own suffering.
I like to always think positive and to allow the light in. It was very nice chatting with you. Thank you very much. It must be late there. ..]
---

Ravi wrote:
Thanks sister ---. Helping the family over time (months & years) would be a great service to the family which I am sure will please God.

BTW like people from many different parts of the world, there are good Indians and bad Indians and many in-between. India has its rapists, killers, thieves, fraudsters, confidence-tricksters etc. However, India is a deeply, deeply religious country. So even rapists, killers, thieves, fraudsters, confidence-tricksters typically have a degree of respect for humble and poor/middle-class devotees of God. I think that is truly the SAVING GRACE of India. ... In India, some may be sympathetic to the poor and try to help them, and some may just ignore them. But only a very few Indians, IMHO, will hate the poor and want to drive them out of their sight. In fact, I think no God fearing and God loving Indian, no matter what his/her religion - Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist, Jain etc. - will hate the poor as they know that their religion teaches them to help the poor when they can, and that hating the poor will not be something that will please God.

Sister ---, as a social media writer on spirituality & religion I try to serve society through my free blog & Facebook writings. Would it be fine with you if I share MY PART of our exchange yesterday with minimal context information, regrading the murders and having to cope with it, WITHOUT any reference to you by name OR to the specific incidents, publicly on my blog & Facebook??? My view is that such sharing of MY PART of the exchange with minimal context info. may be helpful to others in similar situations in the future.
...

What do you say?
---

[Note that the initial part of the exchange given in this post happened a few days earlier to main part of the exchange given in this post.]

[Correspondent wrote (slightly edited): "Hi. Please feel free to share. .. If it can help others by all means share."]

Ravi wrote (edited): Oh! Thanks a ton, ---. I think it may be of help to others, if not now at least sometime in the future. .. it will also help me as I could easily refer back to it in future if I get into a similar conversation with somebody else in future.
---

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