Different people take different steps, drawing on their own strengths and what works best for them.
Here is one person’s chosen path….Perhaps you can draw strength from Ted Olson’s grief experience.
Ted Olson on loss and love
in the decade since 9/11
“I had to balance between my feeling that I should be at the Pentagon and participate in these public events of memory and remembrance,” he told us Friday. “On the other hand, I also felt it’s so powerfully overwhelming that the best thing I could do is to celebrate my birthday, remember Barbara’s death and celebrate the remainder of our lives with family members away from Washington, D.C.”
Barbara Olson during an appearance on “Larry King Live.” (Ho/Reuters)
Before she died, Barbara placed two calls to her husband from the hijacked plane. The terrible news spread within minutes, and Olson immediately became Washington’s face of loss.
“When I appeared in public, I had to stress that I’m not unique . . . unfortunate, tragic things happen to all of us,” he said. “It’s very important to put that in perspective: You’re not the only one that has experienced a terrible tragedy, as thousands of other people did that day.”
Olson said he was determined not to be consumed by his sorrow. His mother, then 81 years old, told him: “Ted, you’ve got to get back on your feet and get out there. You’re a young man.” He went back to work the following Monday and argued his first case as solicitor general three weeks later.
Six months later, he was introduced to Lady Booth, a tax attorney from Chicago. The two began dating and quickly became serious. “I felt that some people would feel that I was moving too fast. Everyone has their own idea about how someone should cope and how much you engage in mourning. I believe Barbara — because she was so passionate about life — would have wanted me to live my life.”
Ted and Lady Olson in 2006. (Philip Bermingham)
Wisconsin is also where Barbara is buried. It took three months to identify her remains, and he decided the family retreat would be her final resting place. Olson said he would spend Sunday surrounded by the people he loves best.
“Horrible things can happen to you, and horrible things happened to us on September 11,” he concluded. “But if we look for love and happiness and fulfillment, we will find it.”
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