MBM Instructor Participates in Trauma Relief Project in Post-Earthquake Haiti: Lynda Richtsmeier Cyr, Ph.D.
Earlier in her career as a child psychologist, Lynda never imagined that she would participate in international trauma relief. Although she felt compassion for people suffering around the world, she was the mother of young children and had a career as a hospital psychologist that made it difficult to be away from her responsibilities. Hearing the news of the earthquake in Haiti, and the devastation that ensued, was a turning point for Lynda. Coincidentally, she had reached a place in her career where she had space for something new. Her children are older, and being away from home for short periods of time seemed reasonable.
Lynda recalls working with a group of nursing students in one of the early workshops in May, 2010. As the earthquake struck, nursing students were attending class. About 90 of those students perished in the earthquake as their academic building collapsed. The 100 students who came to the CMBM workshop were still stricken with grief. They were committed to continuing their studies to become nurses. When the students completed the training, Lynda recalls that they left with a sense of lightness and renewed hope for their situation. The people in Haiti that have completed the CMBM trainings feel a sense of peace and hope in the midst of incredible loss and ongoing challenges. During her most recent training in Haiti, Lynda reflected on how this journey has touched her heart. The people of Haiti share deeply of themselves and listen deeply to one another. The experience reminded Lynda that healing comes from simple things; it doesn’t have to be complicated. She has learned to simply listen with an open heart, be present, and remember that she doesn’t have to fix everything. It is easy to become overwhelmed with the multitude of issues in Haiti. However, when a group of Haitian people come into the CMBM training feeling distraught, and leave the training feeling lighter and with a new sense of hope, this is the beginning of healing.