By Janaki Jane, Colorado Spirit
In all natural disasters, around the first year anniversary, there are concerns that survivors will be emotionally re-triggered. Triggers can take many forms. For Lyons residents, those triggers might
include rainstorms, the media coming into town, or a disaster elsewhere. For disaster survivors everywhere, the one-year mark of the actual event can be a difficult time.
Lyons is a beloved community for those who live here and for visitors; whether to eat, listen to music, cycle, hike or shop. Many people in both groups have purposefully chosen the weekend of the anniversary to put on events. This has raised the fear that event organizers might overlook the triggering nature of their events. There is also a concern that residents who have not yet been able to come home will not feel included in the upcoming community events because they are not currently living in town.
Being triggered comes in different intensities. Although it was not the intent of the many people organizing events to trigger folks, for some locals that has been the result. However, also, when we address things collectively as a community, we weaken the trigger, and strengthen the individual survivor. Although this was also not the intent of the organizers, this can also be a result of the events next week.
The goal of creating a schedule under the brand Lyons One Year Strong has been to create order from what easily could have been chaos, and to be as inclusive as possible. The events of the weekend were already happening and organized by many different individuals and groups; some have been planned for many months. Imagine if all of the events on the schedule, and some more that were in the works but were cancelled when the schedule came out, were to happen independently of each other next week. The work has been to support collaboration among the multiple event organizers so that as much as possible events do not overlap, and to have the events be as inclusive of all members of the Lyons community as possible.
Recovery from traumatic events takes different forms for different folks. One way that people move beyond disaster is by having the opportunity to re-experience it, or be triggered, in gentle ways. Events at the anniversaries are therefore important for many; they give those who want to a chance to share with their community, to remember together, and to experience that they are not alone in what they are going through.