Dear Lee,

The news about the accident came as a great shock here, how much more so it must have been and be for you and your wife. After passing through other tragedies it is hard to see the Vietnamese pass through another. However, they have got this far because they are survivors and possess resilience. They seem also to possess an extraordinary capacity to absorb trouble, though this does not mean by any means that they do not feel pain and suffering acutely.

I suppose others have told you that you will have to avoid self-recrimination. When accidents happen, we always tend to spend time punishing ourselves and thinking about what would have happened if we had done

something else. Accidents can happen no matter what we
decide or may have decided. The holiday was a good idea, the minibus was a good idea. Even if they had stayed at home something could have happened. But I dare say you have been through all this.'

It seems that the best thing to do is to be grateful that things were not worse, to give yourself time to get the trauma out of your system particularly by talking to others, and then above all to get back as soon as possible to the everyday things and what has to be done. Sometimes in moments of grief we get tempted to change our situation, leave a particular work or place. It is practically always a mistake. Certainly, a mistake to act quickly on such a matter. Reality can be fearful at times, but reality also possesses tremendous healing power. Continuing with our ordinary duties, giving time to the people and things that require our time, all this brings its own healing if we are patient.

Your work with the Vietnamese is something admirable. It has also its many worries. Facing that is part of what makes it admirable. Tragedies can make us bitter, but they can also bring to us a deeper wisdom and compassion in dealing with the tragedies of other people. Have confidence to find a source of strength in yourself. God puts it there in each of us. It will enrich your own life and the lives of others, above all your own family.

Please excuse the somewhat threadbare advice. Behind it however is a lot of sympathy and good will.  Also, in my own small way, experience.

My prayers continue for you your family and your extended family the Vietnamese at Hy Vong

Dennis Murphy MSC