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Perpetuating Loss

I’m trying not to dwell on the fact that a 9-year old girl, born on 9/11/01 was shot down in cold blood weekend before last. I hadn’t, until now ever thought of babies born on 9/11/01, moments of happiness on such a mournful day. I know I’m not the only one wondering what it all means. Perhaps nothing. Or perhaps it has some very profound meaning that we may never understand.

I had a friend tell me this weekend that I was still focused on being a widow. A 9/11 widow to be precise. He was referring to my dating life.

“It’s written all over you,” he said. I was shocked.

“Is it really? Do I look sad or something?”

“Not sad exactly. But it’s a part of you. It’s in your book, on your blog. Maybe you should try not writing about Arron for a year,” he suggested. I balked. Does writing about loss and grief and yes, Arron, mean I’m still mired in his loss, pining after him?

I admit, I did zero in on that little girl and the date of her birth. How could I not? I Imagined her parents. Their loss. Loss, loss loss. Loss seems to be everywhere. I’ve gotten better at not taking every single loss to heart. Now, when I think of the mothers, and fathers and kids who lose a close loved one, I think, “they will make it through. We all do, eventually. It will change them profoundly, but they will make it.” Maybe they will even find some magical thinking in their loss someday, like I did.  And they too will remain mired in it, because that magical thinking provides a far more satisfying way to live, a deeper way of thinking and connecting to the world.

I begin teaching a grief and loss class this weekend to a group of people who are recovering from addiction. Yes, more loss. But I know I will come away from the experience moved, changed, enriched. Working with people who have lost so much have much to teach. But some might look upon my teaching this class as another example of me perpetuating my loss.

I do worry that I am seen as basking in my widowness, at the peril of experiencing a healthy relationship, and yet I don’t feel at all like a widow. I feel like a woman. Healthy, alive, and grateful for my loss. I would not be who I am now without it. If makes relationships more difficult, then so be it. I cannot change who I now am, a person who feels deep sadness when an innocent, 9-year old girl dies needlessly.