In exactly one month, America will observe the tenth anniversary of that dreadful day when our country, in so many ways, lost her innocence.
Between now and then we will read many thoughtful writings and see many poignant programs about a national tragedy which we will never forget.
Mary Jane Hurley Brant, a well-known Human Relations Counselor, has just penned down some thoughts about the 9/11 tragedy itself; about how it "imprinted, pained and wounded our collective psyches;" about how this tenth anniversary will likely result in a flood of reporting of that day and "bring more suffering for those personally involved.
Hurley Brant relates the concerns a social worker friend, Madelaine Paske Baulig, MSW, LCSW, has for the families who have had a direct, personal involvement with the tragedy:
Ms. Baulig expects that much of the media attention will be respectful on this 10th anniversary. But this great exposure to those early images and documentaries, detailed analysis of the buildings and those who have died will again be put in front of those people. It will be especially difficult for the children who were 6 then and protected from the onslaught of images but will be exposed to the full replay of the horror now. The children she counsels say that no matter that Osama Bin Laden was finally killed, "It doesn't change anything because my father's chair is still empty at our dinner table."
Thinking about such children and their families, Hurley Brant has come up with some suggestions as to how we all might help comfort the survivors of 9/11. These are some of her suggestions:
- Reach out with compassion to any people you know who were involved in 9/11 and express your feelings of sorrow for their painful loss. If they helped out in any adjunctive way, thank them.
- Send a sensitive note to a family who lost someone or write your thoughts or feelings on your Face Book Page. Use Twitter, too, because these venues are read by multitudes and you could have just the right sentiment that some brokenhearted widower needs to read. That's trusting in a spiritual hand to direct your thoughts to its right source.
- Invite them to tell you what their dad or mom, uncle, aunt, sister, brother or friend was like. Tell them with all sincerity that you cannot imagine how hard it must be for them if you don't know personally how it feels. Say you will always remember the courage it must take to go on in honoring their deceased's unlived life.
- Validate a parent's strength to comfort his or her growing family in the absence of a lost parent. Invite that child or family to hang out with your family in your home with a more the merrier mantra prevailing.
- Remind the grieving person that our souls never die; that our relationship with our departed love ones goes on forever. If you happen to be that grieving person yourself, safeguard your own vulnerability because 9/11 will evoke a primal wound in your own spirit; therefore, pace yourself when you find your mind reflecting on those 9/11 days. Also, consider being with other 911 survivors for support because there is comfort in a fellowship circle. And don't feel that you have to explain or defend yourself to anyone else because you know how you feel.
You can read Mary Jane Hurley Brant's entire article here.
Mary Jane Hurley Brant, M.S., CGP, has worked for 30 years as a Human Relations Counselor with a concentration in Jungian studies and depth psychology. She is a Certified Group Psychotherapist and Leader of Simple Abundance Seminars and Workshops and has worked with hundreds of individuals, couples and groups to bring a deeper understanding and meaning into their lives.
Mary Jane is the author of "When Every Day Matters: A Mother's Memoir on Love, Loss and Life."