9/11: Reflections on Loss

It has been a sad week.

There’s a family I’ve been seeing with some regularity in clinic over the past several months.  At their most recent visit, I finished up with the kids and was about to leave the room when I remembered to ask how their mom was doing.   They had told me at previous visits that she was suffering from a medical illness and undergoing treatments.

I wasn’t prepared for the sudden silence that settled in the room.

The father looked at me and told me quietly that she had passed away.

I too joined the silence in the room.  Then I heard the hushed sobbing of one of the children behind me.  I turned immediately to offer a hug.

I had also recently received news of a baby who passed away.  Despite the knowledge of medical conditions that cannot be changed, I think we always want to hope for the best.  I wouldn’t be a pediatrician if it weren’t so.  But news of a baby’s death hits hard and nothing softens that ache, especially for a parent.

Death never seems real.  Until it happens.  My heart never gets accustomed to the sting of sorrow, even though I see and hear of it somewhat frequently through my work in the medical field.

The week had been so busy that I hadn’t even realized the 11th of September was creeping up.  But as I thought about the loss of these families I know, I also began to think about the loss that so many families will remember today on 9/11.  Ten years later, I wonder how the children are doing.  I wonder how the spouses are doing.  Ten years is a long time for the rest of us who weren’t directly impacted by the events of 9/11, but I am sure it is as fresh as yesterday for those who mourn a loved one.

My heart and prayers go out to families, not only those hurt by 9/11, but to all those who have faced loss.  The sorrow of loss points to just how meaningful and precious each life is.  This sorrow also points to the fragility of peace and security among man.  Let us treasure our memories, old and new, and embrace the people in our lives.  Let us also continue to wrestle with our hope for a true and lasting peace.

Resources:

Parents.com: Helping Kids Cope With Grief

AACAP: Children and Grief

BBC: Bereavement

photo by .shock from Fotolia.com

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