In 2001, we learned as a country what it feels like to be
really scared, really sad, really angry. It was a rough year. Some of us
experienced tremendous loss firsthand when loved ones perished at the hands of
terrorists. But even those of us far from "ground zero" were deeply
affected. What should we do to prevent sadness from following us intothe
future? How, exactly, should we grieve?
By Marion WinikThey talk your ear off, oblivious to your busy schedule. You'd do anything
to shut them up, but how? These three easy steps will help you handle any
motormouth so that you can get on with your day.
Time is precious, as they say — which is why it's so incredibly
frustrating when someone comes along and nonchalantly siphons it out of your
day. We're talking about the way-too-chatty friend, relative, coworker,
or acquaintance who latches on to you when you bump into her at the
"When there is a national disaster such as Sept. 11th, or a
plane crash, we can reduce [our experience] to five losses -- of safety, trust,
freedom, control, and innocence -- plus we have a collective broken heart,"
says Russell P. Friedman, executive director of The Grief Recovery Institute, a
non-profit organization headquartered in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He has personally
spoken with more than 50,000 bereaved people and is co-author, with Institute
founder John W. James, of The Grief Recovery Handbook and When
For the majority of us -- those who did not lose a loved one in
the attacks, "the brain goes back over every loss we've ever had," says
Friedman. The grief we feel is founded in empathy, based on our own
experiences, even though they differ from the current situation. "As a
human being who has experienced loss, others' losses touch our hearts."
Our need to hold vigils, to create makeshift memorials,
"has less to do with the people who died than with the losses we've each
experienced individually in our lives." And while it is sad, it is also
positive. "What happened [Sept. 11] opened up our humanity to ourselves, if
only for a while," Friedman tells WebMD. The reason for these large
demonstrations is that we're all part of the family of humanity. It's proof
positive that we are not emotionally or spiritually dead. In that respect, it's
And for many of us, these rituals do help us work through our
pain and anxiety, put things in perspective, reach a sort of closure, and move
But what about those who were directly affected by the attacks?
Those who lost a child, a spouse, a best friend? And what about all of those
who have experienced a more 'run-of-the-mill,' untelevised personal loss? With
or without terrorism, parents die, children succumb to cruel diseases,
marriages end, jobs are lost.