01/12/2011 09:41 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Why It's So Difficult to Grieve Our Children: A Prescription for Healing

Amidst the national ashes and rubble, a child is born.
Christina is her name, her Creation Story being amongst the most profound.
A child of promise.
A child of joy.
A child with purpose.
A child, unafraid, to claim her origins, her passion, her Light.
A child whose birthday sprang from our country's day of monumental trajedy,
And deepest collective mourning on 9/11.
A child whose death day, in Tucson, Arizona
brings us Full Circle
to the destructive force of human hate,
and the compassionate love of strangers, in its midst,
To the most profound of human questions:
Where did you come from?
What is your Purpose in this place?
She knew hers.
Only proving that real wisdom defies chronology.
You and I both know people, who, of advancing age,
Should 'know better,' but don't.
It has been said, "It takes a village to raise a child."
It also needs be added: "It takes a village to bury one."
It takes a village to remember,
To bring forward each Thread of Life lived brilliantly,
Inviting this- all -too- brief- a -comet,
To reignite our own flagging flame,
In order that we do better,
Than up to now.
We owe them this. Regardless whether the young one is slain in a Safeway parking lot, or is brought back in a body bag from war, regardless whether the end of life comes from a disease of body, or mind, or Spirit, or a collision with Mother Nature, regardless whether the end arrives from the recklessness and disregard of others, the gauntlet is passed our way. It may well be time to update our answer, when asked: "How do you wish to live your legacy?" I'm asking.
The fact remains that it seems to take the death of innocense
To bring us to our knees,
To strip away the veneer of
Living falsely,
As if your Light
Does not matter,
As if your words and actions
Had no power.
Based on results, it seems to take the bright and shining eyes
Of the fallen
For us to look in the mirror, and ask:
How long are you willing to pretend
We do not belong to one another?

The Challenge. What makes it so difficult to grieve our children is that when they are lost, we are lost. Hope waning, so, too, is our wonder, our gaiety, our reveling in the miracle of life, (as seen through the eyes of a child), the promise of tomorrow. What makes it so difficult to grieve our young, is the fact that, with them, goes our dream, our heart. What makes it so difficult to grieve our girls and boys, is that with their death, we are left in the wake with sleepness nights, and nagging questions in the dark. What are we going to do to carry on, to grow forward, to bring forward the Spirit of their nature through the way we touch the world? No one gets off this hook without scrutiny.

Prescription For Healing: In the name of all our lost children, related to us or not by blood, let us consider the following. There is a statement attributed to the father of a certain baseball player entering the Big Leagues, at an age considered well past his prime. When asking his dad if he should accept, his father is reputed to have said:

"It's OK to do what you want to do, until it's time to do what you were meant to do."

On the heels of recent senseless deaths, contemplate the fact that Christina lived as she was meant to live, with purpose and resolve to get on the playing field, and make a difference. She took the life she'd inherited, and was turning it into a masterpiece by stepping up, speaking out, and becoming the leader that was her destiny. She was most certainly one of the best examples of what I call a "Love Project" at work in the world. There's a prescriptive lesson here, for what ails us as a people, and as individuals.

What about you and me? We can lament those gone, and must. But, the most effective prescription for grief never ends here, if we are honest. The best memorial is a well-lived life, one that is 'meant.' The best memorial employs the love you have for who you've lost, and funnels this energy into some form of Love Project that speaks to your own body, mind and spirit. A life that employs your gifts, talents and skill sets into very real and, dare I say it, soulful contribution. Let's get honest. "What is the legacy you are leaving as your life stands now? How might you tweak it in such a way that your legacy reflects your best self even further? Let's get our act together. Christina would do no less.

Name your intention, please. I'm listening. I am not alone.

To be continued...

For more, see For updates, contact me at, or dr.carabarker@gmail to save time, click on Become a Fan. Stay tuned for upcoming developments with The Love Project, including "Practicing Love." Follow Dr. Cara Barker on

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