Marriage and Family Therapist
Cyndi Sarnoff-Ross is a licensed psychotherapist with almost twenty years of clinical experience in the fields of clinical psychology and organizational management. She has worked extensively with a wide variety of…
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How Osama Bin Laden’s Death Has Affected Those Still Grieving 9/11
Posted in Bereavement by Cyndi Sarnoff-Ross on May 03, 2011
Everyone grieves in their own unique way and the tragic losses of September 11th, 2001 found an entire nation grieving in one way or the other. The news that Osama Bin Laden had been captured and killed raised some people’s emotions to the level of elation. There were people dancing and singing in the streets, patriotism reigned supreme and voices of those who had lost a love one in the tragedy of 9/11 could be heard on every news station.

There seemed to be a sense of closure and satisfaction. Shortly after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, then Mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, was asked by the then President George W. Bush if there was anything he could do for him. Rudy Giuliani replied, “When you catch Osama Bin Laden let me kill him myself.” Even now he remembers his intense anger and his urge to retaliate. Revenge is sweet I suppose, and while the desire to exact revenge may not be our most highly evolved human attribute, it is an extremely natural and very human response to being injured.

When I learned of the news I was surprised and maybe yes, satisfied. It certainly speaks to the sense of justice in all of us. I can’t say that I was moved to dance or sing in joy but I didn’t lose someone close to me during those awful days in 2001. Had I experienced that loss directly my response might have been wholly different.

In fact, as I watched the news it struck me as odd and a bit incongruous to be celebrating as it seemed like a somewhat somber moment. For many who are still grieving it brought their loss back into clear focus and, even though many reported a great sense of relief, others were put into an emotional time capsule which transported them back to the excruciating pain of the past.

There is no one way to grieve and victims of tragedies that have occurred at the hands of another have different needs for revenge based on their experiences and their philosophical beliefs. It is important to make room for all of the various responses and avoid judgment of those who are in that position. Healing that deep of a wound requires different medicine, metaphorically speaking, for different people.

So while the celebrations continue and security across the nation is shored up keep in mind that those who were grieving nearly 10 years ago may be feeling the pain acutely at this time even as they experience a long awaited sense of closure.

"I have never killed any one, but I have read some obituary notices with great satisfaction."
- Clarence Darrow

- Cyndi


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I really thought he would die of old age or natural causes before anyone got to him. Had he been captured and killed shortly after 9/11, I probably would have been elated. But he was already in prison because he had to hide out and not face up to what he did. I still feel for those who lost loved ones that day and those who survived but were injured. I was extremely angry after the 1st 2 years but since then I have commemorated those fallen in my own way. There are times when I have a flashback of that day. I will never forget that day. But it's time to move on. Justice has been served.
By joblessinphx  May 06, 2011
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I lost a co-worker and a good friend lost her husband in the Oklahoma City bombing. When Timothy McVeigh was to be executed, family members were asked whether they wanted to watch a close-up video relay of the proceedings. Some wanted to, others did not. My friend who husband had died said, "What's the point? McVeigh's death isn't going to bring my husband back."

I think she was right. Two deaths do not equal a life.
By madbookworm  May 04, 2011
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