How many of you, who are old enough, remember exactly where you were when the shattering news broke that President John F. Kennedy had been assassinated? How many of you still remember the endless footage of the Dallas parade in which he was shot, the poignant salute of his little son and the stoic, numb face of Jackie as she walked behind his casket?
Even as I write these words the pictures are as vivid as if they had happened yesterday. Fifty years…it’s been fifty years today, shouldn’t these memories be dulled down by now? Shouldn’t we be able to just look at it as a fact of history by now? Not if you lived through the national trauma and grief that occurred when it happened.
The thought that time heals all wounds is one of the most common misunderstandings about grief that exists. The bottom line is that time doesn’t heal the wounds, it may take the acuteness off the pain but it doesn’t heal it. The only thing that helps and heals is what we do with the time.
If we allow our emotions to emerge naturally, if we’re feeling them and expressing them, then the time will be healing. But, if like so many, we push the feelings away…too often with drugs, work, alcohol or keeping busy, doing everything we can to avoid them, because it’s too scary to feel them, then even fifty or a hundred years won’t heal the pain.
It’s been fifty years since we lost JFK, and many of us still feel pain watching the footage of the tragedy. It’s time we as a nation lear how to cope with loss in an effective way so that we can use our time wisely and actually heal.
Many thought that because Kennedy wasn’t a personal acquaintance, we didn’t deserve to feel sad, so we carried on bravely, but President of our country is in important part of our experience as global citizens. And this was especially true during such a tumultuous time as the 1960’s.
Since I will be launching my next book, Turn Your Frown Upside Down, in 2014, we will be having increasing discussions about dealing with loss. We all need to learn more about how to deal with these difficult, unavoidable aspects of life.