Community gun violence, like the mass shooting that happened this week in Lewiston, Maine impacts those closest to the tragedy, surrounding areas, and even people far beyond the physical proximity to the events.
Gun violence has wide-reaching implications and affects anyone who identifies as a survivor. I know this first-hand from my father, who survived the murders of his entire family and ten neighbors when he was twelve years old. From that day on, until his death literally sixty years later, he felt every incidence of mass shooting as if it were happening to him all over again. My father would immediately call to check in, first to ensure I was safe, but then to find out if I had heard the news.
The depth of my dad’s pain and trauma was revealed with every mass shooting. He was an ardent believer in no notoriety for the killers and that the focus must be on prevention, remembering the victims, and supporting the survivors and family members. My father would say, “Life goes on, it must. But live your life in memory of your loved ones and make them proud.”
The reality is, you will grieve forever. You will never ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole, but you will never be the same again. Nor should you be the same, nor should you want to.— Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
THIS SURVIVORS TOOLKIT FOR GUN VIOLENCE SURVIVORS WAS CREATED AND PUBLISHED IN COLLABORATION WITH GIFFORDS.
It’s meant to guide survivors of gun violence through the pain of the first few weeks following a shooting and offers suggestions for getting involved in the GVP movement for those who are so inclined. The toolkit’s first part is dedicated to healing, and the second to advocacy.
We are grateful for the input of all the activists, survivors, and mental health practitioners from around the country who contributed to its contents. We hope you find this resource useful!
Lewiston, Maine survivors: You, your friends, and your family might be experiencing symptoms of shock.
Seek Medical Help
Symptoms of Shock Include:
- adrenaline surges
- difficulty breathing and remembering
- chest tightness
- sleep disturbance
- pain and tension in the body
- new phobias and fears
- isolation feeling alone and misunderstood
While the toolkit is a living document, which is best viewed and used online, we have produced a PDF booklet version. You can download and print it. Click here to open the PDF version.
“This two-part toolkit aims to give
you some of what we wish we’d had
the day our lives changed forever,
and what we’ve learned since.”
~Sandy & Lonnie