9/11, 2011, & Jungian Bereavement & Grief Counselling
Ten years on, changes in the ways 9/11 is commemorated can teach us a great deal about bereavement, about grief counselling, and about transformations and processes in grief.
The Globe and Mail article “After 9/11: for some it’s time to move on” highlights ways in which, 10 years on, the grief of relatives and survivors is undiminished, yet undergoing transformation.
Grief counselling teaches us that grief evolves. Particularly where loss is sudden or unexpected, it can result in feelings often as overwhelming as complete despair and hopelessness. But the feelings can and do change, as the work of grief gets done over time. The loss is not felt any less, but felt in a different way.
Experiences of Grief & Bereavement Differ
Interviews with 9/11 survivors show that grief is experienced differently by different people. For some, the grief reaction is as keen and raw as on the original 9/11; for others, not. Grief counselling shows no one “right way” to respond to grievors: we have to listen to their stories, and respond individually.
There is Healing in Grieving, but It’s Not the Same as “Getting Over It”
For some 9/11 grievers, a kind of healing has come with the passage of time. The impact of their loss has not diminished. But, there is some way in which they are starting to come to terms with it, and to find ways to move back into their lives. They have found some kind of meaning and life energy that draws them.
Grief Counselling Lesson: Re-Traumatization is Not Grieving
In his 9/11 address, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said, “We can never unsee what happened here.” That’s true. No one who has seen them will ever forget the dreadful images which the media with seeming relish keeps unrelentingly inflicting on 9/11 survivors and bereaved loved ones. One clear lesson: that’s not the way to help anyone heal from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Grief That Deepens in Meaning
Jungians recognize that, if a grieving individual can put the loss of the loved one into a meaningful context, and find a way to relate to the memory and personal reality of the lost loved one, life can go on. Often, this return of life is experienced as the re-awakening of the desire to be in life.
I wish all of you, and especially those who may currently be carrying the burden of grief, the gift of meaning on your journey towards wholeness.