Self-Healing Expressions
grief, september 11
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  grief, september 11

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The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey
The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey.
The bereaved are guided and supported through the grief process in this grief-healing e-course.

A Different Grief:  Coping with Pet Loss
Are You Facing The Loss Of A Beloved Pet?
Explore both the myths and the realities surrounding the experience of pet loss, including why it hurts so much and how it differs from other losses in this Self-Healing Expressions email course.

words of comfort in bereavement, sympathy quotes, sympathy poems, poems about sympathy for a death, words of comfort for sympathy, free sympathy poems

Words of comfort for sympathy

Finding Your Way through Grief: A Guide for the First Year by Marty Tousley, RN
Finding Your Way
through Grief:
A Guide for
the First Year

September 11 ~ Grief

The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey
The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey

Understand the nature of grief and loss and their potential impact on all aspects of your life: physical, financial, emotional, social and spiritual. Learn how to move through grief actively and make the process of mourning a healing one. Find support and guidance in dealing with the many facets of grief.

Learn More Now! [Audio Message by the author]

Dear Marty ~ September 11th was a weepy day for me. . .

Q & A by Bereavement Counselor Marty Tousley

Question: Yesterday [September 11th] was a heavy day. I found myself weepy all day as I remembered all those who died on September 11th (including a former colleague who perished in the WTC), as well as, other loved ones who've died but not on September 11th. Can you offer up any insight into this kind of collective grief?

Answer: You are not alone in the sorrow you're experiencing, my friend, as our entire nation is called to remember the anniversary of September 11th. For many Americans the feelings of grief associated with this event may seem as new and as raw as they did when these terrorist attacks first happened in 2001. A newscast or film clip from September 11 can catch us by surprise, acting as a trigger, and it's as if we're confronted with the event for the first time, all over again.

Like aftershocks following an earthquake, some of the feelings we experienced then and thought we had put behind us can crash in upon us like a tidal wave - especially when we are flooded with so many reminders in the media. Painful images surround us, and it feels as if we're starting the entire mourning process anew.

Dr. Frank Ochberg's Interview
On the first anniversary of September 11, an informative interview on this subject was conducted with Dr. Frank Ochberg, founding board member of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and an expert in post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dr. Ochberg described September 11 as "one of these days that is going to live in infamy, a day of collective remembrance." He noted that there are some people "who lost a loved one on 9/11 or people for whom events were so personal and so intense that the anniversary and public expression is bound to return them to the scene . . . but it doesn't mean that you are actually back there . . . [and] it does not mean you're going to have to recover from the start all over again. Even if we did not lose a loved one in the attacks of 9/11," Dr. Ochberg continues, "the images can remind us of our own tragic losses that may have gone unrecognized and unacknowledged."

Plan for Anniversary Dates of Loss
It is wise to remember that oftentimes the anticipation of an anniversary date can be worse than the actual day. When you are grieving the loss of a loved one, it helps to identify those days, events and seasons that are likely to intensify and rekindle your pain, and build comfort and healing into them. Plan what you're going to do ahead of time, even if you plan to be alone. Don't set yourself up for a bad day. Let your friends and relatives know in advance which days and events are significant for you. Verbalize your needs and include them in your plans. They may be very willing to help, but need for you to tell them how.

If you're feeling anxious, confused or immobilized as a certain date or time approaches, get the reassurance you need by participating in a grief discussion group, attending a grief support group or speaking with a bereavement counselor.

Handle Your Memories With Care
If your memories are painful and unpleasant, they can be hurtful and destructive. If they create longing and hold you to the past, they can interfere with your willingness to move on. You can choose which parts of life you shared that you wish to keep and which parts you want to leave behind. Soothe your pain by thinking of happy as well as sad memories. The happiness you experienced with your loved one belongs to you forever. Hold onto those rich memories, and give thanks for the life of the person you've lost instead of brooding over the last days. Build "memory time" into the day, or pack an entire day with meaning. It's easier to cope with memories you've chosen than to have them take you by surprise. Immerse yourself in the healing power of remembrance. Go to a special place, read aloud, listen to a favorite song. Celebrate what once was and is no more.

Honor the Memory of Your Loved One with Service
The families of 9-11 were instrumental in creating the 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance. Service to others can be healing and transformational. Visit their service and remembrance site and see if some form of service to others calls out to you.

Letting Go Doesn't Mean Forgetting
Letting go of what used to be is not an act of disloyalty, and it does not mean forgetting your lost loved one(s). You will never forget, because a part of this person remains in you. Letting go means leaving behind the sorrow and pain of grief and choosing to go on, taking with you only those memories and experiences that enhance your ability to grow and expand your capacity for happiness.

As you've already discovered, you're never really finished with loss when someone significant leaves you. This loss will resurface during key developmental periods for the rest of your life. You will have to face it again and again, not as the person you are today, but as the person you will have grown to be in two or five or twenty years from now. Each time you will face it on new terms, but it won't take as long and it won't be as difficult.

Wishing you Peace and Healing,

Marty Tousley, Bereavement Counselor

Copyright © 2003 – 2009 Marty Tousley, CNS-BC, FT, DCC. All rights reserved.

Marty Tousley is the author of these popular online grief healing courses and ebooks:
The First Year of Grief: Help for the Journey
A Different Grief: Coping with Pet Loss
A Different Grief: Helping You and Your Children with Pet Loss
How To Write a Eulogy: Guidelines & Examples for Paying Tribute to Your Loved One
Heartfelt Condolence Letters ~ With Condolence Message Samples

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