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BOARDMAN Grief expert: Resolving 9/11 won't be easy



Published: Thu, September 12, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



There is no quick fix for those experiencing grief, a grief management specialist says.

By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

BOARDMAN -- The grieving process that began Sept. 11 can be dealt with, but it will take a long time for many to heal, a nationally certified grief counselor says.

Darcie D. Sims spoke to a room full of law enforcement agents, counselors and members of the community looking for ways to deal with grief and loss.

Sims, a grief management specialist, conducted two seminars at the Holiday Inn here.

The events of Sept. 11, 2001, caused many people to analyze the grieving process through themselves and those around them, Sims said. The expectation, she added, is often that an individual should grieve, find closure, and soon return to what is considered normal, but that is often not the case.

"Today it is acceptable to cry and grieve. Tomorrow, for many, it won't be, but that doesn't mean those grieving have stopped," she said. "This is a lifelong journey."

Don't try to stop

Sims said it is not a good idea to attempt to stop the grieving process. Everyone must be permitted to grieve at their own pace and in their own way.

Sims speaks from experience. Her 13-month-old son died of a brain tumor 26 years ago.

She added that many people reserve the grieving process for death, which is not right. She said people grieve with any dramatic change in life such as divorce, change of friends or moving to a new home.

"There are a multiple of loves and changes in our lives and grief kicks in with each of those things," she said.

Before one begins to deal with grief, Sims said, certain commonly used terms associated with grief must be changed.

"Denial," she said, is really a "postponement" of the inevitable emotion one will feel. "Acceptance" is actually "acknowledgment."

It is a lot easier to acknowledge the fact that 3,000 people died a year ago than to accept or agree with it, she said.

Feelings remain

While many people lose shoes or keys, Sims said people are not "lost" but do "die" and still remain a part of those who loved them. She also referred to closure as a media term because the grieving process is lifelong.

Sims touched on the means of dealing with grief such as acknowledging the loss, accepting the pain, sharing thoughts with others, and finding a sense of humor and a hug.

Patience, Sims added, is also critical. She said good days and bad days are to be expected, and those grieving should not be expected to apologize for breaking down and having a bad moment.

Those grieving also must find relief from the anger they have, which can include screaming, punching a pillow or hitting a few golf balls.

Her visit was sponsored by the Touched by Nathan Foundation and the Compassionate Friends.

jgoodwin@vindy.com




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