There are many different types of grief, all of which can hinder our ability to find the light within our lives. At Lighting the Way, it’s my mission to support and help grieving individuals in Colorado Springs. No matter what type of grief you’re dealing with, I’m here to support you during your grief journey and help you uncover all that life has to offer.
One often overlooked form of grief is collective grief. Best understood through a major event causing widespread loss, collective grief is an evident consequence of the events that took place on September 11th, 2001. As we remember the horrific tragedies that took place 20 years ago, we’re able to gain a much better understanding of how collective grief can bring people together, even those who’ve never met.
What is Collective Grief?
Collective grief occurs when a community, regardless of size, experiences a dramatic loss or change. Causes of collective grief tend to be any major event, including natural disasters, wars and acts of terrorism. Similarly to individual grief, collective grief is often accompanied by feelings of hopelessness. During a major event, such as 9/11, it’s easy for these feelings to be amplified because of the overwhelming amount of loss that takes place. Even though collective grief has the power to bring people together, everyone’s grief process may look different, and it’s important to not base your healing timeline on anyone else’s.
How To Grieve As A Community
While healing from collective grief will look different for each person depending on how deeply they were impacted, grieving as a community is essential to moving forward. By reflecting on 9/11, one of the most well-known examples of collective grief, we’re able to learn more about grieving as a community and finding light along the way.
- Accept the grief of those around you.
Events that trigger collective grief impact all members of the community in some form or another. While for some it may be more personal, try to understand everyone in the community is hurting. The events that took place on 9/11 caused many families to say goodbye to their loved ones far too soon. Even people who may not have physically lost someone felt the loss of those families, and America grieved together.
- Honor what was lost.
An important part of healing is giving yourself the opportunity to honor what you’ve lost. Many communities create memorials to allow those who are grieving to leave pictures, flowers and cards. After 9/11, memorials for the lives lost appeared all over the country. Today, there’s a large memorial located at the World Trade Center where hundreds of people gather daily to pay their respects.
- Grieve publicly.
Grief is often thought of as a private emotion. However, it’s been found that when individuals grieve publicly, others who are hurting will feel less isolated. Collective grieving means those in your community are experiencing similar forms of loss and confusion. Try having meaningful conversations with trusted neighbors, friends and community members. Even though it’s been 20 years since 9/11, Americans still unite in their grief. Posts on social media, news articles and conversations are all forms of the nation publicly mourning together.
Finding The Light 20 Years After 9/11
A grief anniversary often brings up new feelings of sadness and loss. As America honors the 20th anniversary of 9/11, it’s important to listen to your body and allow yourself to grieve in order to further your healing. At Lighting the Way, I use the Grief Recovery Method to help those hurting find the light in the midst of their grief. Whether you’re experiencing collective grief or another form of grief, I’m here to help you and support you throughout your entire process. If you’d like to learn more about grief recovery, please contact me today.