Children affected by a traumatic or tragic event(s) need treatment sooner rather than later!

by | Jan 6, 2015


Piper (top left) and Sailor (bottom left) with parents Kim and Marty Gutzler. All but Sailor, 7, died in a plane crash that also claimed family member Sierra Wilder (not pictured).

7 year old survives plane crash…a miracle!  Click on this Good Morning America news video!

“A 7-year-old girl who survived a plane crash and then trekked nearly a mile through dense woods to get help held out hope that her parents, sister and cousin might somehow have survived, too, police said.”


How do lone survivors of traumatic events or accidents cope?  Quote from this website article… By Kathryn Westcott 
BBC News

Survivors Guilt… Click on this link for more…


“I still I think about it a lot, particularly, of course, when there is an air crash,” she said. “But at other times as well. That experience follows me where ever I go.”

Many who survive such disasters – particularly sole survivors – suffer from what is known as “survivors’ guilt”.

One aspect of this is feeling somewhat unworthy of survival. Then there is the feeling of isolation, as there is no survivors’ network in which experiences can be shared and bonds formed.


Traumatic events in the lives of children, including accidents where others are killed, domestic violence or child abuse, are sometimes ignored because of an incorrect assumption that kids are resilient or will not remember.  The traumatic time in my life as a child was the 1950’s during the period of my father’s post WWII and Korean War challenges of coping with his own trauma from the war, including the loss of close battle buddies.  Our entire family was affected during a time when there was little or no awareness or treatment of PTSD symptoms and moral injury on children and families of warriors.

Trauma survivors feel a sense of guilt or unworthiness that can last a lifetime if not treated or confronted.  Denial can take hold over time and become a huge barrier in finding an appropriate path of healing to achieve peace of mind.  This was exactly the case with me until later in life following research and writing my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  It is also true that young children can experience memory loss over time, making treatment and reconciliation even more challenging.  I can’t remember my life experience or the traumatic events in our toxic home until around 9 or 10 years old.  Fortunately, confronting my memories and the emotional baggage carried forward for decades from age 10 allowed me to begin healing from the pain that for so long was bottled up inside of me.

The big lesson for all parents or guardians when children are affected by traumatic life events such as the little girl, Sailor, who survived the plane crash in the story above, is to start treatment right away.  Kids need to go back and retrace the events surrounding the tragedy so they can deal with the trauma effectively right away rather than waiting.  The pain of bottled up tragic memories can often stick around forever.  Even lost painful memories as a child are still tucked away in the back of our brain waiting to escape and be the catalyst of long term healing.  It is the spiritual human connectedness and mindfulness of releasing the pain of trauma and tragedy from our hearts and minds that heals.  Sharing with trauma survivors and bonding with others are good strategies to achieve a lasting peace of mind…

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click the highlighted text for my author page…

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
View all posts by stevesparks →

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