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Recently, my cousin asked me, with sincerity and care, “What was it like to be raised in a single-parent home?” I must admit the question took me a bit by surprise, and despite being a mature adult, I had to reassess my sense of family.
“Take care!” We say that to others all the time. We want those who we care about to take good care of themselves. But do we, especially those of us who are caregivers, know how to “take” care?
All of us have said the wrong thing to someone who is grieving. Maya Angelou says, “When we know better, we do better.” If you say the wrong thing, apologize and remember that your loving presence is more powerful than any right or wrong thing you might say.
This year on 9/11 Imagine had the privilege and opportunity to participate in Cantor Fitzgerald’s annual Charity Day in which Cantor and its affiliates, BGC Partners and GFI Group commemorate their 658 friends and colleagues and 61 Eurobrokers employees who perished on September 11, 2001. Each year on September 11th Cantor donates 100% of their global revenues to the Cantor Fitzgerald Relief Fund and selected charities around the world. This year, Imagine was selected to participate, and was fortunate to have actor Kimiko Glenn of Orange is the New Black, as our celebrity ambassador. Since its inception, Charity Day has raised and distributed over $147 million globally.
Listen without judging. Tell the truth. Offer choices. This article gets it right in how to help your kids cope with loss.
The death of a parent is a trauma for a child or teen. A parent is a child’s first attachment, first love, the person they depend on for their very survival and often it is the very person to whom they would turn to for support after a loss.
My grandfather died when I was 2 years old. I never met him. The only things I have of his are two pictures – which are actually my mother’s – 2 black and white pictures. The first is of a tall, lanky man, dressed smartly – if not oddly formal – standing in the middle of a yard with the hot Caribbean sun beating down on him; the second, a close-up portrait. That was it. All imagined interactions, hoped-for futures, dreamed of backstories, stemmed from these 2 pictures.
It’s Christmas. ‘Tis the season to be jolly’. Really? It’s a tough time of the year for many people for many reasons. But it’s a time of joy and remembrance. For my family, it’s equally tough. Our lives changed forever on November 20, 2004. Our family as we knew it was shattered after a knock at the door and the news that our nineteen-year-old son Ryan had died in an automobile accident. Life would never be the same… and it still isn’t.
Let’s imagine something different. Let’s Imagine a world where children coping with loss grow up emotionally healthy and able to lead meaningful and productive lives. Let’s imagine a world where grief, loss and trauma are transformed into resilience, empathy and compassion. So that someday the world is driven by love and compassion, and not unresolved grief.
As I popped onto facebook briefly on Tuesday, I learned about the chemical attack that took place in Syria. This was the first I had heard of an attack. Scrolling through my feed, there it was. I was confronted with the absolute carnage of it all – videos of people writhing in pain, people gasping for air, dying, many of them children. It was only a few seconds before I started crying, and shortly after that, short of breath. My asthma had been triggered so I put my phone down.