9/11 Aftermath of trauma- Family and Loved Ones; the crossroads between life and death

At the million circles conference where I presented my Kolo Informed Trauma Care, one woman in the audience was the spouse whose husband was killed in the Trade Towers. This was years later and she shared how invisible and forgotten she and her children felt. It was as if her husband who was killed and had to be killed to be one of value.

9/11 Never Forget meme

She acknowledged the survivors who made it out in order to share their stories to the world. She said they also have a place and space in memorial making, a museum and media.
But, she and the families do not have a place or the space to be visible. The only place to be visible was in a public and national memorial site so that media can photograph victims- sensationalize their pain. She asked what of the family and loved ones in the aftermath? What of their pain? What of their trauma? Where do they put their trauma narratives?
What she is talking about is how the access to their truth of their grief and collective trauma is strategically avoided. Somehow, she knew the truth of their grief is evidence materialized into cognition and can be witnessed. But, so many turn away from bearing witness voiding the medium of healing for the 9/11 families and loved one.
 Eight Children who died in the 9/11 attack

Eight Children who died in the 9/11 attack

According to Dana Rose Garfin, research scientist, its the collective pain that is made invisible, “As an applied social psychologist, I study responses to natural and human-caused adversities that impact large segments of the population – also called “collective trauma.” My research group at the University of California, Irvine (UCI) has found that such exposures have compounding effects over the course of one’s lifespan. This is particularly relevant for children who have grown up in a post-9/11 society.”


It is a chronic crisis for the families and loved ones that builds into greater intensity with t

9/11 Families Mourning

he passage of time. She shared this eloquently in the conference room. What I learned from her is how a collective trauma is birthed out of a shared experience, a horrific traumatic events that certainly falls outside of the range of any ordinary human experiences. But, the families and survivors are excluded and their collective trauma nationalized for war or political gains. How and where do their families and loved ones articulate the unforeseeable trauma and pain in the aftermath of 9/11 that is quite unforgettable to them?

Dr. Danica Anderson
Social Scientist, Trauma Expert
The Kolo: Women’s Cross-Cultural Collaboration