To the editor:
This month marks the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks against our nation. On that day we will remember and honor all those who lost their lives in New York, Washington, D.C., and rural Pennsylvania. And we will remember those they left behind. Many of those families and loved ones have spent years suffering from the trauma of sudden loss and the heartbreak associated with complicated grief. We can only hope that they have been able to learn to live with this loss and find new meaning in their lives.
Bereaved family member are often confused about their feelings of grief and loss in the days and months after someone they love has died. As a result, many people do not allow themselves time to gently contemplate their grief and process the reality of their loss. In some cases this can result in complicated grief.
Complicated grief often accompanies sudden, unexpected and traumatic loss like those experienced on 9/11. However, people can also suffer from complicated grief for a variety of other reasons. Complicated grief is characterized by a constant preoccupation with thoughts about the person who died, intense, continuous sadness and longing for the deceased, avoidance of reminders of the loss and difficulty finding new meaning and happiness in life. These symptoms can have a devastating effect on people's lives.
This September, as we remember those who lost their lives on 9/11, remember that learning to live with a loss is a part of the grieving process.
Pam Saucier, RN, BSN, MBA
Vice president, Merrimack Valley Hospice