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Unformatted text preview: & & & To print this page, select "Print" from the File menu of your browser Found and lost I thought I was one of the lucky 9/11 relatives: I had the remains of my husband. But then the medical examiner informed me I was grieving over only 40 percent of Eddie's body. - - - - - - - - - - - - & !"#$$ Ten days after 9/11, the police came to my door. They wanted to tell me personally that they had identified Eddie's body. One week after that, I buried my beloved husband in Woodlawn Cemetery, in the Bronx. In March, I received some personal property -- his three ID cards. In April, I got more news: They had identified a piece of his muscle mass. Suddenly, I had to ask a difficult question that I had previously avoided: "How much of Eddie did I bury?" The answer was 95 percent -- I was short by just a foot or two. I've reacted to all the news about Eddie, his body and his belongings in the same way: I am seized by an immediate and intense spasm of grief, which spreads throughout my body, until totally absorbed. After that, to my surprise, I feel peace. I have tried to feel like a winner. After all, I was among the few who received so much from the recovery efforts at ground zero. According to the news, roughly two-thirds of the 2,823 dead vanished without a trace. Their loved ones still wait and hope that the medical examiner will call with the news that their loved one was "found" among the approximate 19,550 body parts still waiting to be identified. Meanwhile, of the 1,092 bodies identified, there were only about 300 whole bodies. Eddie, was one of them, less his feet. As a winner, I was able to take control of Eddie's body, and in doing so, I could begin to retake control of my own chaos. Life left Eddie's body suddenly and violently. And, according to the grief literature, when someone you love dies in this way, you feel powerless and vulnerable. I did, and the rituals that came with possession of Eddie's body suddenly gave structure to my messy world. I compiled "to do" lists and relinquished very few tasks to others. By confronting the realities of retrieving Eddie's body, ceremonializing his death, and burying him, I anticipated some relief as payoff for my efforts. ceremonializing his death, and burying him, I anticipated some relief as payoff for my efforts....
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- Spring '10
- Health Psychology