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SportsShooter.com: Member Message Board

Dealing with grief
Joel Rosenbaum, Photographer
Hercules | CA | USA | Posted: 11:33 PM on 10.19.05
->> In my 14 years as a photojournalist I have covered many a car accident, but today, I spent part of my afternoon covering a vehicle accident that has shaken me more than any other I have documented. The details of the accident are: A single driver traveling at a high rate of speed in a school zone looses control of his car smashes into a parked car then the two cars hit about 13 people ranging from toddlers to adults walking home from school. Two of the kids (a brother and sister ages 7 and 9 were killed.) Many others were very seriously injuried. I am have trouble dealing with the grief after photographing the scene, not sure if it is because I am a father of two young kids or what, but I just am not sure really what to do.
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Billy Hurst, Photographer
Spring Hill | TN | USA | Posted: 11:52 PM on 10.19.05
->> Joel,

Having two young children myself, I can completely understand what you are feeling. There is nothing wrong with feeling this way. You did your job and photographed the scene. What's amazing is how our minds won't let us forget certain things very easily. Stories and assignments will come and go, but this one will stick with you for a while. My best to you and your family and may God be with the families of those who lost a loved one in this horrible tragedy.

Billy
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Chris Stanley, Photographer
Lansdale | PA | USA | Posted: 11:57 PM on 10.19.05
->> Joel,
All I can say is that I am sorry you had to deal with this. I am also a father, of two young boys, and I cringe when I think about the accidents and fires I have covered over the years that involved the deaths of children.
I think there are two things you can do to help you get through this - the first you have started with this post. Talk about it, with other photographers and reporters who have gone through this, as well as friends and family.
Second, appreciate your kids all that much more each and every day, and enjoy every single moment you can spend with them. This may sound obvious, but let's face it...when we get busy with work and other obligations, it can be easy to forget what an absolute priveledge and gift it is to share your life with a child.
I wish you the best. You are not alone.

Chris
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Rainier Ehrhardt, Student/Intern, Photographer
Birmingham | AL | USA | Posted: 12:00 AM on 10.20.05
->> If you are an NPPA member, they have a free service for grief counseling.

https://www.nppa.org/member_services/critical_incident_response_team/
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Scott Bort, Student/Intern, Photographer
Woodstock | Il | USA | Posted: 12:01 AM on 10.20.05
->> Joel,
You may consider contacting the local fire/police chaplin. They are used to dealing with fire fighters who are going through the same thing. They may be an excellent first step in dealing with the trauma you have gone through.

My prayers are with you,
Scott
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Michael Granse, Photographer
Urbana | IL | USA | Posted: 12:07 AM on 10.20.05
->> It is absolutely normal for you to be having a very intense reaction to this kind of trauma. The "pathology test" would be if the intensity of your emotions persists for a prolonged period and begins to interfere with your work or your relationships THEN you have something that could require professional intervention. Your health insurance policy probably covers counseling, and if you do not see an improvement from your current state within a week or so it might be something to consider. You will probably start to feel better in the morning, but do not be afraid to seek help if you wind up needing it.

If you have Benedryl in the house (or generic diphenhydramine hydrochloride) 50mg should make you tired enough to sleep. Many over-the-counter sleep rememdies use this same chemical (and same dosage) and cost a LOT more.

***DISCLAIMER***
I'm not a psychiatrist, but I did spend my first six years out of college doing group facilitation and crisis intervention at an area mental health center.
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William Robert Sullivan, Photographer, Student/Intern
West Palm Beach | FL | | Posted: 12:09 AM on 10.20.05
->> The Dart Center for Journalism and Trauma is a great resource for dealing with grief. Lots of free tips, resources, counseling lines, etc.

http://www.dartcenter.org

Everyone should keep it in their bookmarks. We're all bound to need it sometime in our careers.
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Jeffrey Furticella, Photographer, Assistant
Muncie | IN | US | Posted: 12:16 AM on 10.20.05
->> You may also want to check out this article by LaForet. His is dealing with trama after covering a disaster like a hurricane, but undoubtedly the same principles apply.

http://www.sportsshooter.com/news/1465

-Furt
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Mark Loundy, Photo Editor
San Jose | CA | USA | Posted: 4:04 AM on 10.20.05
->> Joel,

Here is a list of trained colleagues who can help you:
https://www.nppa.org/member_services/critical_incident_response_team/team.h...

--Mark
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Joel Rosenbaum, Photographer
Hercules | CA | USA | Posted: 12:47 PM on 10.20.05
->> Thanks for the kind words. I think as I have gotten a little separation from the entire event I am doing better. Certainly being able to play with my kids this morning was a great help.
Thanks again everybody.
Joel
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David Martin Olson, Photographer
Woodland | CA | USA | Posted: 1:44 PM on 10.20.05
->> Joel:

I know I just talked to you and Rick on the phone, but I wanted to say again that I'm glad you're doing better. I'm sure you guys did your jobs yesterday with sensitivity and compassion, which is a service to the community. What you do matters.

Take care.

DMO
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Daniel Bersak, Photographer
Boston | MA | USA | Posted: 3:01 PM on 10.20.05
->> Joel-

Glad to hear you're doing better. One thing you might want to do (in addition to the advice already suggested) would be to check and see whether your police, fire, and/or EMS is going to have a Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) related to this incident. I'm an EMT, and CISDs are what we do to deal with emotionally tense situations. Take a look at the links below for more info. Good luck!

--Dan

http://www.aaets.org/arts/art54.htm
http://ifs.sc.edu/documents/Critical%20Incident%20Stress%20Debriefing.doc
http://www.emedicine.com/emerg/topic826.htm
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Robert Curtis, Photographer
Stevenson Ranch | CA | USA | Posted: 8:09 PM on 10.21.05
->> Hey Joel,

I will e-mail you as soon as I can...
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Eric Isaacs, Photographer
Santa Barbara | CA | USA | Posted: 8:57 PM on 10.21.05
->> Hi Joel,

Not really much I can add other than to say I feel for you, I've had too many similar experiences. I'm impressed with the great advice given above. Its good to hear you are feeling better, it really does make you appreciate your family and friends all the more.

Take the time you need.
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Ryan Gebely, Student/Intern, Photographer
California | PA | USA | Posted: 10:34 PM on 10.22.05
->> I am a student and I can not relate to this as many of you can. My question to you veterans is where is the line? If we go to a crash or horrible situation where do we draw the lines?
My own half likes to take the movie "We were soldiers" and the photographer there documents the death and destruction of the soldiers and uses them to tell there story.

My other half is saying are we indecent? Is this wrong?

I guess I am just looking for some guidance in my photography and personally feelings.

I guess I feel that it is our duty to report and record these things. I know newspapers expect it but how far do we go?
I would appreciate peoples input.

(I am not attacking or degrading anyone by this I am just personally curious to what other think)
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Thread Title: Dealing with grief
Thread Started By: Joel Rosenbaum
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