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Ask the Rock Doc 
By Dr. Bruce L. Thiessen, aka Dr BLT, psychologist 

* Details contained in the original correspondence, or inquiry have been omitted or otherwise altered to protect the confidentiality of the inquiring party and to make key spiritual/psychological points. 

To check out the 2-song "soundtrack" to this edition of Ask the Rock Doc, visit here and scroll all the way down to hear the last 2 songs:

Dear Rock Doc: 
I lost my husband on 9/11/01.  The reason Iím writing you is that every time the anniversary of 9/11 rolls around, it brings back the memories.   I feel the pain and the horror all over again, and I have a hard time even getting up in the morning to face the day.  

My husband was a firefighter, and a huge fan of your music, so I thought Iíd write to ask if you had any songs from your One September Mourniní CD that would pay tribute to him and the other heroes of that day.  

Also, if you could offer me a bit of advice on how to get through another September, Iíd really appreciate that.  Worst of all, I cannot even seem to pick up the guitar or get myself to sing a note of anything.  I am a folk singer/songwriter, a mother of 3, and a department store clerk.  But most of all, I am a widow, a...

Widow in the Wake of 9/11 

Dear Widow in the Wake of 9/11 
In this advice column, I promise to provide ďsound advice for a song.Ē  Only itís not you that is required to provide the song.  I am the one that put that responsibility (and pleasure) upon myself.  I could have gone back and dug into the songs I initially wrote for victims of 9/11, in a multi-band CD entitled One September Mourniní, but your story and your letter has inspired me to write and record a couple of brand new ones that  will be included on an updated edition of that CD, and if I could get a mailing address, Iíll send you a copy.  

Now for the hard part---the ďsound adviceĒ part.  It should be easy for me, being a psychologist, but I know that when a loved one is gone, and that anniversary comes around, itís very difficult to find anything at all that can fill that personís shoes or fill the void you are left with.  

Grieving in your case is made even more complicated by the tragic fact that your husband died as a result of terror that was inflicted upon all those who were directly involved, either by being at the wrong place at the wrong time, or by trying to rescue those who were.  

You want to gain control over something that you had no control over.   You want to bring him back, but you cannot.  Your mind is telling you a series of ďif onlyÖĒ statements to try to regain control and make things happen differently than the way they did.  

About all I can say is this: donít try to stop the pain, or suck up the tears.  Let it flow, because the pain will only grow if you try to constrict the expression of that pain.  You may need to force yourself to pick up that guitar, tune it, and strum it.  You may not be inspired to write a new song that will serve as catharsis, but even interacting in some way with the instrument you are skilled in using may produce some sort of comfort for you.  

When you get up in the morning in these days, donít expect to conquer the world, just plan to get through the day, and to put one foot in front of the other.  Make a list of things you must do to stop your life from going south.  Pay your bills on time.  Eat, and eat healthy meals, not junk.  Exercise, even if itís just a little.  If youíre working do the very best you can to make it to work and to do what is necessary, at a very basic level to keep your job.  

If you become completing overwhelmed and canít seem to force yourself to do any of these things, it may be time to visit a psychiatrist and explore the possibility of medication to take the edge off of this annual grief intensification.  

Get into a support group if youíre not in one already.  Turn to friends, turn to professionals, and, above all, donít stop turning to God.  Itís what I call psychoPRAYERapy.  Prayer helps, but we must do our part.  We must look around at the resources God has already bestowed upon us---our brains, good doctors, good friends, good self-help books, and take full advantage of all of these supportive avenues.  

When you get through this, and I believe you will, email me again and we can thank God together for the grace he granted you in facing another 9/11.  May God grant you comfort!  

*If youíre a musician in distress, or a friend or family member of one, write me, Dr BLT, at:


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