Dealing with grief one year after 9/11
Editor's note: CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta answers medical questions submitted by e-mail on "Your Health," which airs at 2:30 p.m. EDT Saturdays. Questions and answers are posted on CNN.com after the show.
This week, as part of the remembrance of the tragic events on September 11, I decided to answer two of the most frequently asked questions I have received.
Q: What is some good advice when coping with grief?
A: Grief is an entirely normal reaction to a loss, especially to the loss of a loved one. Also, people grieve in very different ways.
Most people are unsure of exactly how to act when suddenly confronted with a devastating loss: People are often worried that they are either too upset or not upset enough.
All of that is normal.
Most important, grief is not something that needs to be cured or solved and don't expect it to suddenly go away -- it takes time.
Take care of yourself, allow others to take care of you and remember that while it may not seem like it at the time, this grief is part of a very normal healing and acceptance process.
Q: How do you explain tragedy to your children and help them to feel safe?
A: Remember, there are no easy answers when explaining tragedies to children, but it is important to realize that your actions are probably more important than your words.
Many who try to keep a stiff upper lip around their children instead of displaying what they truly feel often confuse their children.
It is OK to weep and show emotion in front of your children. Also, allow your children to externalize feelings and express how they really feel.
Children don't need to be pestered about their feelings, but if they want to talk -- particularly adolescents -- it is important that parents hear them out in a sympathetic way.
Also remember to continue a structured daily routine, discipline as necessary, and regular social interactions.
"Ask Dr. Gupta" is not intended to address specific questions concerning individual cases. CNN does not directly or indirectly practice medicine or provide medical advice, and nothing contained in the responses of CNN through its correspondents is a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always contact your doctor if you need medical advice or treatment, or have any questions regarding a medical condition.
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