Reflections on 9/11 and Grieving



A book review of Patricia Murphy’s (2008) book, Tough Topics.

Source: Murphy, P. (2008). Tough topics: death. Chicago: Heinemann Library.


Reflections on 9/11

                September 11th (9/11) is remembered annually for the terrorist attacks on the United States in 2001. Wikipedia (2017) reported that 2,996 people were killed in this attack.  Sometimes death happens quickly when it happens by an unpredictable accident (like a car wreck) or a random act of violence (like 9/11). Sometimes the approaching death is known (like having an incurable cancer) or suffering prolonged illness.

Radical acceptance: Death is something that will happen to all of us. It is part of life.  U.S. Senator John McCain shared, “every life has to end one way or another,” in a (2017, Sept 11th) CNN video.  McCain argues valuing the importance of life.

Tips for Grieving

                Patricia Murphy provides education on death and coping in her (2008) book, Tough Topics: Deaththat was designed for children. Murphy consulted with Gillian Dowely McNamee, Ph.D. who is a professor of child development at the Erikson Institute in Chicago.


                Murphy (2008) discusses these areas:

  1. Death happens and it is part of life.
  2. People can say goodbye when they know a person is dying. Sometimes a person is not able to say goodbye when the death happens suddenly.
  3. What funerals, burials, and receptions are described.  Murphy argues that this, “is a tie to celebrate the life of a person who has died.”
  4. Grieving after loss is covered as well as the mix of feelings a person experiences like guilt, sadness, anger, loneliness.
  5. Murphy argues that it is healthy to open up and talk about feelings. A grief counselor can be helpful.

Here are Murphy’s(2008)  tips for coping with grief:

  • Write feelings
  • Draw or paint pictures of loved one
  • Do something your loved one enjoyed and think about that person
  • Take time to grieve
  • Remember: You’ll always have memory of that love.



Murphy, P. (2008). Tough topics: death. Chicago: Heinemann Library.

CNN. (2017, September 11), Video: Available at:

Wikipedia. (2017, September 11), September 11 Attacks. Available here:

How I Cope with 9/11 – by Danny Pettry


Permission: CanStockPhoto

Monday is 9/11.

It is the anniversary of the attack on the United States by four hijacked planes. Two went into the World Trade Center. One went into the Pentagon. The passengers on the fourth plan fought back and the plane crashed in Pennsylvania. It is hard to determine where that fourth plane was aiming for.

I get overwhelmed with emotions around 9/11. I often feel depressed dwelling on the past or anxious worrying if it will happen again. I use Radical Acceptance as a coping skill. I’m don’t like that it happened, but I radically accept that it did happen, it is in the past, and there is nothing I can do to change that.

How far in the past is 9/11?  I provide services for children and teens. None of the kids were alive in 2001 (when it happened). The teens were either not born or too young to remember what happened 16-years-ago.

The truth is: bad stuff happened.

And yet, as a self-identified Idealist/Healer (INFP personality), I want to see the best in all people. Of course, I’m not so idealistic that I’m blind to evil in the world. I’m fully aware of The Force (Star Wars reference) and that that the Dark Side exists. It is out there. And yet, like the yin-yang, the opposite of the dark side exists too. I strongly believe in the Light Side (a Star Wars reference) to the good in the world.

Disclaimer: I read metaphysical books and I believe in the force. Of course, my belief isn’t like the force like Star Wars, but I do believe there is some larger connection, like the force, at work in the universe. Scientists have discovered the connection. They call it Higgs boson. It is often referred to as the “God particle.”

Is it real? I have “faith.” Is there evidence? A group of 4,000 people who used meditation and prayer (during the summer of 1993 in Washington) argues that their work was the result of a 20% decrease in crime during that time.

Recreation therapists who are trained in Heart-rate variability (HRV) understand that our hearts radiate energy. Some recreation therapists claim that the practitioner (the recreation therapist) should be in a state of intentional heart-rate coherence when providing services for patient. Being in a a state of heart-rate incoherence can have negative impact on those around us.

WE, recreation therapists believe in the powerful and healing aspects of recreation and activity.

Some ideas for interventions:

  • Donate money to support a positive cause, like Red Cross
  • Do something good for someone else, for free
  • Volunteer to help a charity (by spending real time helping)
  • Collect items for a good-cause (a book drive)
  • Start a singing group (like Christmas carols)
  • Let another car have a parking space that you want
  • Say something nice to someone
  • Help an adversary (or a competitor)
  • Give someone a hug
  • Sending supplies to a nursing home
  • the list of ideas is endless
  • You. You’re creative. I feel confident you have many amazing ideas. Do it. Don’t wait. there time is never right. Do something good today. Start a domino effect. Start a Pay It Forward movement in your local area.

I’ll end this post with advice from The Beatles: