It is difficult to believe it is almost twenty years since the murder of Carlie Brucia. Details about her senseless death were transmitted over all print media and even national airways during February of 2004. Numerous people, police, first responders, reporters, clergy, were quoted in the reports as being filled simultaneously with rage about this depraved act and intense sorrow for its innocent victim.
These emotions are hallmarks of grief for some people. The word, grief comes from the Latin, gravare, meaning to be heavy. Grief, surely, from observation and personal experience, weighs heavy on the body and soul. Bereavement, while often used interchangeably with grief, has a different root meaning, reave, which means to rob.
Ask yourself, right now, how you define the word "grief". This question was randomly put to several people. My daughter defined grief as an unpredictable loss of a loved one that leaves a person without a sense of direction. My friend, Doc K sees grief as a sense of loss so intense it produces physiological changes that can incapacitate a person. The Cleveland Clinic defines it as the experience of dealing with loss. Psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross is famous for her theory, the Five Stages of Grief. Lisa W. says grief is the overwhelming feeling of sadness that engulfs you when thinking of a loved one that has passed. She believes it is a feeling that cannot be described to someone who has not experienced it. Fay Reynolds, writing in The Guardian (a British newspaper) August 18, 2022, said, Grief, in many ways, is all the love you wanted to give the person that has gone. It never leaves your heart. Mike P. shared he sometimes thinks of grief as a deep sorrow that comes from what we have lost, but also from what we won’t have in the future. My wife, Kathy described grief as that moment you realize how incomplete your life is now-what was, what you thought could be, will now forever NOT be: you are forever incomplete, like doing a jigsaw puzzle and having a missing piece. My grandson, Nick says “Grief is a time of sorrow and pain and it takes time to grieve even though someone who has passed away is not there anymore and you are left with something or nothing”.
September 11th is a day burned into the national collective memory. The sadness of the event is commemorated annually with a somber, reverent ceremony at Ground Zero. For twenty years the reading of the names of the victims was announced, accompanied by the single peal of a bell. It dominated the airwaves. Not so much now.
In speaking with psychiatrist, Dr. Lorraine C. about grief changing over time, she noted that the event causing the initial grief to be acute will in time become a distant memory. She said old anxieties would shrink and be replaced with new ones. Further, she explained, a person can accept the trauma as a PART, not the totality of their life, the reduced focus leading to less ache. Jennifer Senior, in her Pulitzer Prize winning essay, On Grief: Love, Loss and Memory, writes poignantly about a mother, father, and brother addressing the death of a son/brother in the destruction of the Twin Towers: It’s the damndest thing. The dead abandon you. Then you abandon them. Similarly, writer George Eliot wrote, Our dead are never dead to us until we have forgotten them.
The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation was formed in response to the gut- wrenching grief from the theft of a child’s life that lay siege to the Brucia/Barbis families, an act of wanton inhumanity which could have wreaked irreparable devastation on their minds and hearts. Resilient? You can let their responses answer that.
Is there a psychological finish line for grief? The actions of the aggrieved speak the loudest, clearest, and most honestly. Grief never ends, an anonymous quote begins, but it changes. It is a passage, not a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness nor a lack of faith: it is the price of love.
About The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation
Founded by Matthew J. Barbis after his 11-year old cousin, Carlie Brucia, Carlie Brucia, was abducted and murdered in Sarasota, Fl in 2004. The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation's goal is to reduce the number of child abductions in the U.S. by educating & empowering young minds with the knowledge necessary to avoid abduction. Utilizing a formalized educational curriculum, the foundation provides elementary-aged children with The Stranger Safety Awareness Program, free of charge. The Rose Brucia Educational Foundation is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.