When loss or tragedy strike, it etches the memory deep in our brain. So even though it’s been 20 years since September 11, 2001, many of us remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that fateful day.
This was my experience:
I was vacationing in the Bahamas and had just boarded the shuttle bus for the beach. The driver was trying to tell me that a plane had crashed into a building, but because of his thick accent I didn’t understand what he meant. He repeated himself several times, but I still didn’t get it, so he told me I needed to see the news. He took me to the lobby of the resort which was packed with people staring at the TV footage of a jetliner crashing into the North Tower of the World Trade Center.
I was covered with chills. It was difficult at first for all of us to comprehend what we were witnessing. As we watch another plane hit the South Tower and learned about the crashes at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania, no one in the hotel lobby could move. We could barely even breathe.
I felt overcome with panic… Were we at war? What about all my family and friends at home? Were they safe? Were my animals okay? I was filled with fear which only worsened because I couldn’t get back to them for another 5 days. When my flight finally landed at LAX, it was grounded on the runway for 2 hours because of bomb threats at the airport. I was terrified. I felt as though I was being attacked by someone but couldn’t tell which direction they were coming from.
Most of us were fortunate that we only watched the shocking events from afar. There really are no words that fully encompass the tragedy and sadness of that day, but before continuing here, I want to say my heart still goes out to everyone who lost family members, friends, co-workers, and acquaintances on 9/11 and during the events that followed.
When Loved Ones Leave Us
Losing people we love is one of the hardest parts about being human, yet it’s something all of us must face from time to time. I always think that the depth of our grief is equivocal to the amount of love we have in our heart for the person (or pet) who passed away.Losing people we love is one of the hardest parts about being human, yet it’s something all of us must face from time to time. Click To Tweet
Most of us eventually recover—at least to some degree—despite the very rough going at first. Our anguish diminishes to a certain extent with the passing of time and the pain somehow becomes less burdensome as our lives move forward.
Yet, each year something may come up that reminds us again of that sorrow.
Often, the anniversary of a tragic event or a loved one’s death can rekindle your bereavement, even though you thought you’d moved on from it. Birthdays and holidays as well as places, scenery, or seasons can do this too. Grief is tricky life that. You can even be affected in more subtle ways, like feeling fatigued, unmotivated, irritable, or anxious—and not really understand why. But it’s really normal to feel “off” during such times.
5 Ways to Help You Get Through Rekindled Grief
This is so important! You already have a lot on your plate, so please don’t be self-critical when you’re feeling out-of-sorts. Instead, try doing these 5 simple things that can make the time a little easier on you.
- Gather with family or friends and talk about it. Share your thoughts, feelings, pictures, and stories together. This will help you feel less lonely with your pain.
- Treat yourself to some pampering. Schedule an appointment at a spa or stay home with a friend and give each other a manicure or pedicure.
- Spend time out in nature. Whether it’s walking on the beach, taking a nice hike, or going to a park, the fresh air will help you feel more peaceful.
- If you’re feeling sad, it’s okay to cry. Don’t hold all the pain inside of you. There’s no shame in bawling your eyes out when you need to, and it’s a really good way to give yourself some relief.
- Pay homage to your loved one by planting a tree or some beautiful flowers in their memory. It will make you smile when you walk by.
All of us struggle when grappling with painful losses—even if they happened a long time ago. So when you’re in that place, remind yourself, “this too shall pass.” Because it will, and there will be brighter days ahead. Down the road when sadness overwhelms you again, take the time to take care of yourself since that’s when you need it most.
Your loved one would want it that way.
For more inspiration, order my newest book, The Relentless Courage of a Scared Child: How Persistence, Grit, and Faith Created a Reluctant Healer.
If you’re struggling and need professional help, Amen Clinics is here for you. We offer in-clinic brain scanning and appointments, as well as mental telehealth, remote clinical evaluations, and video therapy for adults, children, and couples. Find out more by speaking to a specialist today at 888-288-9834 or visit our contact page here.