We are not good at grieving

Probably over time we will learn more about what caused Jovan Belcher to turn to killing his girlfriend, then driving to the Chiefs training facility and taking his own life.

What puzzles me is the decision for the Chiefs to go on with the game tomorrow. The players apparently want to play. I can understand that to a point. However, what it shows, in my opinion, is our inability to deal with grief. Instead of stopping to process to what happened to a teammate, the opposite thing happened. It is the American thing. We don’t know what to do, so we decide to work.

Somehow, we think it “honors” those have died. We need to stop. We need to grieve. We need to mourn. Our souls hurt. Football… or work… just doesn’t matter. Couldn’t we have the courage to say, “Look… for this day… football just isn’t it. I need to stop and mourn the death of my friend.”

But we work. We “soldier on.”

I just wish we were better at grieving.

Jovan Belcher

Remembering and Mourning

Today is the 11th anniversary of 9/11. It was actually a Tuesday when the attacks happened.

I was reflecting with one of my classes last week about things like 9/11. One thought struck me during that discussion is built on a conviction I’ve had for quite some time about 9/11.

We haven’t properly mourned 9/11.

In personal tragedy, if someone doesn’t really mourn a loss, if they don’t take the time to grieve, “issues” pop up later. Until there is real grief, sorrow, a letting out of emotions, we find ourselves struggling with raw emotions. Those emotions will surface at the oddest times and we will wonder where that came from!

I think this may be true on a national level. We had memorials and services, but I think our national emotions are still raw. We’ve divided, so that if people get upset with a mosque being built near Ground Zero, we chalk it up to “crazy conservatives.” If someone else has an opposite reaction to something else tied to 9/11, we lash out and say, “Weak liberal.”

It exposes raw emotion. I think it’s because we haven’t really mourned this day and this loss. We still search for the “why” in some way, but that search for “why” isn’t the answer to our grief. Bin Laden being dead isn’t the end of our grief. Hussein’s death doesn’t resolve grief. Revenge doesn’t resolve grief.

The first few weeks after 9/11 I remember people talking about re-evaluating what they do. One “gossip columnist” I heard on MPR spoke about the shallowness of her job. There was a sense of reality. A chance to grieve.

Then, we were told the most patriotic thing we could do was get back to shopping. We’re consumers. Go consume. Show those terrorists they didn’t win!

We went to war, we went to the mall, and we tore into each other. We blamed George Bush. We blamed liberals. We blamed France. We blamed anyone we could find for what was wrong in our world. And we’re still blaming. We still have raw emotions over all kinds of things not even related to 9/11… and it just may be because we haven’t really let out the emotions we truly feel from this day.

Then again, I could be all washed up on this one.

Today… I remember.