SIM:Lieutenant JG Karynn Ehlanii - Grieving as a Group Part II

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The continuation of Grieving as a Group Part I. Again, thanks to Cmdr. Ben Walker, Lt. Cmdr. Cara Maria, Lt. Kolk, Lt. JG Nek Illium, and PNPCs, Lt. JG Vanessa Kipps (SIMmed by Lt. JG William Rogers), Ensign Marty Devereaux (SIMmed by Lt. Cmdr. Danny Wilde), and PO3C Che'tara (SIMmed by Lt. Jhen Thelev) for all their contributions.

((Holodeck 2))

Ehlanii: ::with a slow nod:: Especially on the planet, I felt powerless to save the people around me and under-equipped to help the survivors cope. But I did the best that I could and had a few good heart to heart chats with some friends about it all when I had the chance. ::she looked back at the former counselor:: And now I have a unique opportunity to learn from someone who has been in similar shoes. ::she looked back at the group:: And that leads us to our next topic of conversation: what can we do to cope? As a group, we each have different strategies for dealing with our feelings, and we can learn from each other, incorporating good ideas into our own toolbox. I'd like to go around the circle again, answering these two questions: "What have you done to successfully cope?" and "Have you tried anything that hasn't worked so well?" I'd also like to encourage you to ask questions of your fellow group members, if one comes up.

Kipps: Well in the past I’ve kept myself really busy with my work in the FOC and just not thought about things. Sometimes that’s worked I guess – for small things anyway like being irritated about something. Physical activity helps. Making things into a joke so that they don’t seem so important. They’ve all worked to some extent but now that I’m faced with life and death issues they don’t work for me anymore.

::The woman from Flight Ops stopped talking and no one really had any questions for her. Karynn shifted her focus to the ACEO.::

Kolk: I'll start with the things that haven't helped. When my mom died last year, I tried to ignore the pain and go on as if I was fine. It was weird, actually, at times I felt nothing - not pain and not even normal everyday feelings - but eventually everything I'd been pretending wasn't there overwhelmed me and I... melted down I guess. But because of that, I learned that the people on this ship aren't just the people I work with, they're also my friends. Some have even become a surrogate family. With their help I picked myself up and found ways to let my feelings out.

Kipps: How did you let your feelings out?

Kolk: I talked with the counselor, I talked with my friends, oO I talked with ghosts Oo ... After the pilot died under my command, the counselor suggested I do something concrete. So I took some clay and made a mask with the symbols of each of the fighter wings on it - Katanas, Wildcards, & Black Adders. It's supposed to remind me - well, to remind us - that the pilots and crew that make the fighter squadrons work aren't just Marines, Engineers, and Flight Controllers. They're people. The jobs we do aren't who we are, they're just what we do. If we get to know more about the people we work with, maybe we'll be a better team. And maybe, just maybe, the next time something like the Flight Deck accident or the evacuation happens, we won't need groups like this to bring us together. Maybe we'll just naturally band together to help each other cope.

::When the male engineer talked about a concrete way of grieving, something clicked over in Riann's mind. Perhaps that was a technique that she could use to get through the loss of Matt. She tucked away a mental note to talk to the ACEO or the Counselor about things she could do.::

Gibbings: That's a really good idea, Sir. Thank you for sharing.

::There was a pause as the attention in the room shifted to the first officer. After a brief silence, Karynn spoke up.::

Ehlanii: Commander Walker? It's your turn.

Walker: Ah... just... considering my answer.

Ehlanii: How about just telling us what comes to mind. What have you done to cope?

Walker: Fine... Violence... Pain... Exhaustion. Depending on the incident... and how much I am... was... to blame...

Kolk: That's... a bit extreme, isn't it, Sir? Why do you use violence?

Walker: Something I learned as a child. ::Ben's face took on a faraway look, the words coming out almost as a mantra.:: "Failure is to be punished, that the root of it does not take hold and grow like a weed."

Kipps: Your father used such punishments on you?

Walker: ::with a darkly wry smile:: My teachers weren't as... forgiving... as I am.

Kipps: Your teachers used even more extreme methods?

Walker: Yes...However I don't wish to spend excessive amount of time. Shortly, I was raised on a proof that Terran's and Romulan's could co-exist...something my teachers most definitely did not want proven.

Ehlanii: How long did you live there?

Walker: From age four to eighteen. When I became 18 I graduated...and entered the Academy. :: Chuckling with dark mirth:: That may be why I lack certain However, lest I steal the conversation completely...

Ehlanii: ::with a slight but understanding nod:: Thank you, Commander, for sharing with us. Hopefully you'll learn some other ways to cope here. Maybe we can even give you a new mantra to learn sometime. For now, I'd like to move on to Riann.

::She looked at the woman as she mentioned her name.::

Gibbings: ::with a sniff:: To be honest, its all so recent. I haven't even started "dealing" with it yet. Last night I stared at the wall in shock, almost all night. I couldn't even sleep well. I kept thinking he'd ring the chime and walk into my quarters. I hoped he would. I still do...

::The tears flowed down her cheeks again and she stopped talking. The room was quiet as the group allowed her to cry for a minute. As she regained control, she spoke again.::

Gibbings: I think right now the hardest part is just verbalizing that Matt is gone. We spent some amazing time together and now I don't even have the chance to find out what could have happened next. How do you cope with something like this?

::The Haliian counselor had a few ideas but she wanted to let someone else have a chance to help the grieving woman. Near silence reigned in the holodeck for a few moments until someone offered a suggestion.::

Kolk: Do you have any close friends you could talk to about it? Maybe go seek them out whenever you find yourself sitting alone in your quarters thinking about him?

Maria: There's no easy way to do this. It might help you to remember the good times and say thank you, then go out with friends and remind yourself why life is good. It may seem hollow advice, but shutting yourself away from everything doesn't help anyone.

Kolk: ::nodding:: We need other people to get through this stuff. We can't do it alone.

Gibbings: You both have some good things to say. ::looking at Kolk:: I actually really liked the idea you gave earlier: about doing something concrete. I have a few friends, but I'm always afraid that they're going to get sick of hearing about Matt, or seeing me cry.

Ehlanii: You're always free to talk about him here, and please come see me any time.

::After the Kerelian technician next to her shared his coping methods, the attention returned to the Caitian female.::

Che'tara: I, well I haven't tried any coping methods yet. I guess I've only just become aware of my problem. But I'll try out some of the things suggested today.

::Several more people talked about their coping strategies as the group wound its way to the half-betazoid.::

Ehlanii: I know you've already shared some ideas, Commander, but did you have any other suggestions to share with us?

Maria: I...

::The former counselor paused. She was clearly thinking about what she wanted to say. When she started speaking again, she had obviously changed what she was going to say, or at least how she was going to phrase it.::

Maria: ...Don't spend it alone. I like to have peace and quiet to sort it out, and so normally I am alone, but it's... I guess it's always a relief to have someone else there, even if you don't say anything.

::The ACEO smiled and glanced at the CSO.::

Kolk: Yeah, sometimes the best thing we can do for each other is a simple act of kindness--like bringing someone breakfast when they've cried themselves to sleep. Just a kind gesture that lets them know they're part of the Ronin family.

Maria: Yes, a family that are all there for each other. Even if you can't see them.

Ehlanii: ::with a nod:: Thank you, Commander. ::to the rest of the group:: I'd like to thank you all again for coming. We're going to keep meeting every few days at the same time. While there are going to be other support groups, I'd like you to come to this one if at all possible since we've gotten to know each other and the stories we each have. Each session we'll discuss a different topic, but we'll also have time to share anything that we need to. While the crew of the Ronin is our extended family, we have an opportunity to reach out and touch each other's lives in a special way - in part by just being that ear they can talk to. Does anyone have any questions before we break?

Devereaux: Excuse me...I haven't really told you my story yet...

::Karynn's gaze snapped to the man she had helped on the planet. She wasn't entirely sure how he had been missed but she couldn't remember him speaking during the entire session. She gave him a slight nod.::

Ehlanii: I'm sorry about that, Ensign. Please go ahead.

Devereaux: Err yes, hi. My name is Martin Devereaux and I work in Tactical.

::The man paused. It looked like he was going to need a bit of prodding. Karynn smiled encouragingly.::

Ehlanii: Welcome, Mr. Devereaux. What brings you here?

Devereaux: Well, I was on the planet with the rest of crew. I...I was moving some supplies for engineering on the outskirts of the 'village' with Crewman Lopez. Enrico.

::The tactical officer paused again.::

Ehlanii: Go on, Martin. We're listening.

Devereaux: Well...::he gulped. His throat was as dry as that d*mned desert.:: We were moving the stuff and arguing - as we used to do, nothing serious - when one of those things attacked us. It was huge. Enrico tried to to kill it and he was eaten for it. I lost my you can see.

Kolk: You did all you could, Marty.

Devereaux: No. No I didn't. It got me as I ran away... ::He felt the tears welling again. He closed his eyes but he could still feel the burning eyes of his colleagues and even his superior officer.:: I should have been able to kill it...If I had killed it the attack would never have happened. It's all my fault!

Che'tara: No! It's not your fault.

Devereaux: But all those people died... would you live with that? Could you live with it?

Ehlanii: Their deaths weren't your fault. Your warning got us all moving sooner - you probably saved lives. You shouldn't blame yourself.

::She watched as the man across the room slumped in his chair. As she observed his body language she noticed a marked change in his mood. oOThis is not going well.Oo She was about to say something else and try a different approach when he burst out.::

Devereaux: No! You don't understand. I'm not gonna sit here and listen to all this psychobabble and have you wave your magic wand over me. It won't go away, no matter how much you want it to.

Che'tara: Marty..?

Ehlanii: ::calmly:: You're right, Marty. Nothing I can say is guaranteed to help any of you. There is no magic wand that will make any of the pain or guilt or anger go away instantly. Healing is a process, and its a process that you have to want to go through. Otherwise, nothing any of us can say can help.

Devereaux: But what's the point?

Ehlanii: Mr. Devereaux, you have a chance to do some good. While it can't change what happened to you, what you do in the future can bring some redemption to the horror you've experienced. Do you think Enrico would want you to give all of that up?

Devereaux: I guess we'll never know... What use is a one legged tactical officer anyway?

Ehlanii: There are many things you do for this crew and this ship. You're as vital to its operation as any one of us.

Devereaux: ::sighing:: I ... I just need more time...

Ehlanii: Like I said, its something you have to want. And it won't be an easy fix or a fast fix. But we can help you deal with it, if you'll let us. And in allowing that, you might help some of us with our own pain.

Devereaux: RESPONSE

Ehlanii: That's all I can ask.

Devereaux: I don't know...

Ehlanii: I'll be sending you a reminder about the next meeting and I've been assured that these sessions are one of the main priorities right now. Also, please remember that anything you've heard here stays in this room. Please don't talk about it outside this group. Thank you again.

The End

Lt. JG Karynn Ehlanii
Ship's Counselor
USS Ronin

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Grieving as a Group Part I
Lieutenant J.G. Karynn Ehlanii
USS Ronin NCC-34523
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