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Posts Tagged ‘grieving’

        There is a debate brewing about whether news media should have access to photograph the coffins of returning military men and women, killed in the line of duty, when their bodies are returned to Dover Air Force Base.  There is strong controversy about whether this should be allowed or not.  In 1991, President George H. Bush enacted a ban on the photographing of the coffins.  It just was not allowed to happen, by the order of the President.

         This has been a matter of contention.  Some people believe that allowing  the photographs could make an impact on the  minds of the citizens of the United States as to the cost of war; as the death toll rises from the wars in recent years.  There are many who feel that by not seeing the evidence of the coffins, people would not understand the depths of the sacrifice that our service persons were making.  In effect, out of sight…out of mind.  (more…)

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      With the sad death of Dr. Bruce Ivins, 62 years old, a FBI suspect in the anthrax investigation; many people are wondering just who he was.  He was a researcher in the area of infectionous diseases at Fort Detrick, MD for thirty years.  He appeared somewhat mild and dressed somewhat socially awkward.  Some people who knew him say he was a brilliant and dedicated scientist; and find it hard to believe that he could be seriously considered a suspect. 

        He was a son, a father, brother and a husband; his family is surely grieving and confused.  He has been under investigation by the FBI for some time now in regards to the release of anthrax spores back in 2001 through mail that was contaminated.  Dr. Bruce Ivins was not the only suspect; in fact, Steven Hatfill was recently awarded millions because of the damage done to him personally and professionally when his name was released publically, as a suspect earlier in the investigation.

         At least for the last year or so, Dr. Ivins has been under intense investigation.  Reports have surfaced that he was receiving counseling.  Obviously, the whys and what fors are confidential.  But the stress involved in being investigated by the FBI would be overwhelming for most people…but someone who truly was mild and somewhat socially ill at ease and concerned about his public/professional reputation may have just been too much.  He allegedly comitted suicide.  (more…)

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        Well, if you do any research at all on grieving you will find some very pat answers to describe what are considered “normal” stages of grieving.  There are actually “lists” and books of normal stages. 

         One of those lists is from a book called “Death and Dying”; i remember reading this in high school as part of a course on death and dying.  In the book the author, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, identified five different stages of grieving, Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.  Another book, written by Dr. Roberta Temes, called Living With An Empty Chair, identifies what she calls behaviors of grieving, she lists Numbness, Disorganization, and Reorganization.   Of course, there are other books that try to simplify the process to help us to understand it better; but, I think grief is much more complex than these lists imply.

        Grieving is different for everyone.  There is no ONE way, no one order of normal grieving that applys across the board for each and every person experiencing grief.  http://www.rainbows.org , http://www.dougy.org/, http://www.centerforloss.com/

        Whenever i see someone grieving, i think of grief almost as layers of an onion.  Each emotion is peeled away only to reveal another emotion or behaviorial response.  When all of the layers are peeled away to the final layer; there, deep inside is a green sprig that represents new life.  The goal is to get to that final layer and feel some sense of peace again.  http://www.journeyofhearts.org/.

           I think that people respond to their losses differently.  Even when a death is expected …emotions and behaviors are triggered that a survivor is not expecting to deal with.  This can be surprising to them; as they may feel that they thought they were prepared.  Facing a death that is traumatic or unexpected is devastating as well.  If the death is in the eye of the public, such as a public figure, or a death that is connected with a crime or tragedy, the grieving may be complicated because of the circumstances.   

          Those previous lists do hit on some emotions and behaviors that grievers experience; but, I feel that there are so many more layers and depths of grief that affect us. 

        Yes, there is shock, denial or disbelief, fear, anger, guilt, worry, busy work, distraction, forgetfulness, avoidance, risky behaviors, a sense of betrayal; second guessing oneself…what if i did this?  What if, i hadn’t done that?  …it is paralyzing to be stuck on that treadmill, when no answer is possible to satisfy the soul of the survivor. 

        For some people who are grieving, there is a sense of unforgiveness, alcohol abuse… sexual promiscuity… or drug use  to achieve numbness, depression, rage, wallowing in loss, hiding in the past, reliving those final moments and drowning in that experience; for some blame, hatred, litagation, revenge, loneliness, hurt, sadness, abandonment, and yes, hopefully acceptance.

         Finally, it should be a goal of the person who grieves to be able to acheive a healthy balance of their personal loss along with their memories of the deceased person.  In this area there can be found some comfort.  Wrapping yourself in positive memories, and positive activities is a very useful tool to move forward.  Setting a future goal to achieve, in memory of that person, can be helpful as well. 

          A person experiencing grief should not allow anyone to tell them to, just get over it…that it is time.  But, on the other hand, if some of your emotions or behaviors are damaging to you; or, other loved ones around you…you would be wise to listen to someone who truly cares and is concerned that maybe you are stuck in any one of those destructive emotions or behaviors. Try to listen if their concern has a genuine basis. 

        There is professional help if you feel you just aren’t on a healing path…but truly, only the person going through the grief knows what is going on inside of themselves.  It is important to give yourself permission to heal at your own pace.  Often, you will hear someone talk about closure…but…closure is an illusion; closure implies an ending to something. 

          Grieving never really ends because you are always experiencing some event or activity that triggers the thought that the deceased person is “missing” from that event or activity.   Closure doesn’t really happen…but, Healing Is Possible.

           There are some things that may help you to heal, in your time of loss, such as, connecting with others going through similar experiences, taking some time to meet your physical and emotional needs, take time off from work or school, finding comfort & support with friends or family who will listen to you and not judge you.   Don’t isolate yourself; find a support group, volunteer in your community, do something to honor the person you are grieving for, make a memory book, tape, video, or journal, take a vacation, seek spiritual guidance, or pray. 

         You know yourself best; and you know if you are not making progress in your journey from your loss…that is a time to seek help in your grieving.  If you are making progress…give yourself credit…and do something nice for yourself to mark the occasion.  Eventually, the good days start to out number the days when you feel lost and alone.  Ultimately time really does become an ally to those who struggle with the pain.

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      This past two weeks has been rough on a young widow.  Her husband was killed in Irag on March 31.  Kynesha Dhanoolal, the widow, wanted to save his sperm as she and her husband had talked often, of having children together.  She wants to be the mother of his children.

     It appears that a will was not on file anywhere and the military had papers designating Kynesha’s husband’s (Dayne) mother as the person to whom the right of handling his remains; should anything happen to him.  It would appear that Kynesha’s mother- in- law at first was not in agreement of harvesting her son’s sperm, initially.

      Days were spent in discussion before an agreement took place.  Experts say that the sperm may not be viable anymore.  It seems after a man’s death…the sperm loose their mobility and their viability to fertilize an egg within hours.  The harvesting didn’t take place until 4 days after his death and that means that the potential to create a baby has definately lessoned.  It would be a miracle it sounds like if a child was to be conceived.

       I can understand wanting a baby together.  I can understand having the choice to have the child of her husband…however, he was in the military.  He is unfortunately no longer alive to help her raise the child or support the child financially.  This whole situation will open a bunch of legal and moral questions.

        If she is blessed with a pregnancy from her husband’s sperm…will her pregnancy be covered under military benefits?  Since the father is no longer alive would the child be entitled to social security benefits?  Would tax payers be responsible for the support of this future child.  Since the potential conception can only take place by artificial insemination…will that be procedure be paid for by military benefits? With the father gone; who will be a positive male role model for the child?   

         Having lost her husband…i am sure all of those issues are not at the forefront of Mrs. Dhanoolal’s mind.  She is grieving the loss of her young husband.  She is grieving the loss of her dreams of having a child with the man she loves.  I am sure she is regretful of having to force such a request on the mother of her husband as she is grieving the loss of her son.  This, I am sure has added another aspect of grieving for both women.  If, after having to wait for those four days, a pregnancy does not occur will the daughter-in-law blame the mother-in-law for not agreeing sooner?   

         If the expert is correct and the sperm is no longer able to produce a pregnancy…the grieving will continue for both women.  There will be no child or grandchild from the man that they both loved.  The war in Iraq has stolen another generation from another family.  The whole thing is very sad.  This service man and his family has sacrificed what so many others have sacrificed before him…a future with their loved ones. 

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