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The Khan Family and Their Grief

I generally take great care to remain neutral politically in my work, as I wish to be available to anyone who comes to me regardless of their beliefs about other things. However, since the incident with the Khan Family deals directly with grief and how it is expressed, I would like to comment specifically on that.

This couple who have lost their heroic son are excellent examples of how people grieve so differently. Mr. Khan channels his grief through his anger and indignation. Mrs. Khan, even many years after her son's death, cannot bear to look at his picture for fear she will fly apart at the seams. Both are valid and human and understandable. In my practice, I have seen mothers who cope in exactly this fashion - some are in constant tears and curl up in a ball. Some are just numb, going through the motions of life, but quite shut down and disconnected. It is unfathomable to me that an outsider would try and dictate how a mother grieves for her child.

What I saw in our culture arise around this family was heartbreaking to me. Their son gave his life for his men - got blown to bits because he would not send anyone else into harm's way, but stepped up himself and paid the ultimate price. That is the very definition of courage. And then to watch these parents, all these years later, expose their grief and tragedy to the world, opening them up to the glaring political spotlight of our election - it is clear to me where Captain Khan got his courage.

I hate that their pain has become a political football. I hate that their grief was made to seem like there is only one way to grieve. And I hate that we have so little patience with the vulnerable and raw position that tragedy brings to some of us. I wish the Khan family peace - may they know their son will be remembered and honored by so many. I thank him and I thank them. Their son lives on through them. What is remembered, lives.

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