Dear Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi,
First of all I would like to thank you for your program Healing the Grieving Heart. I listen to it each week and it has been a light in the darkness for me. You both give me inspiration and hope as I travel this journey to build a normal and create a legacy for my daughter, Krystal Duss. However, I must tell you both that I was very offended by Bryon Katie’s show on 1-11-07. How dare she tell a grieving father who lost his only child 7 years ago that he needs to reframe his statement that his ex-wife killed his daughter! That is reality. His ex-wife did make the decision to drink and drive and to take Carli with her in the car.
As a result of his ex-wife’s decision to drink and drive she did kill Carli. No amount of sugar coating it with positive words will change the reality that she did kill Carli. Also, Heidi was the ignored, forgotten griever when Scott was killed who was asked how her parents were doing or just ignored. That is reality and no amount of positive wording will change the reality of how people treated or, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say how they acted indifferently to her. Poor Heidi, she did not even get a condolence card!
Bryon Katie’s premise is that we have to accept what is and to build a new life. I agree with that premise. But Bryon Katie was trying to get Carl and Heidi to reframe reality and restate reality into a positive twist that was not reality! . Carl is acknowledging the reality that his ex-wife’s decision to drink and drive killed his daughter. Using this painful reality he is creating a new normal for himself by working with MADD to try to help educate the public about the dangers of drunk driving and to help the surviving family members who have lost loved ones because someone made the decision to drink and drive. What a legacy Carl is making for his beloved Carli. My 29 year old daughter, Krystal Duss, was killed 3 years ago when a drunk driver slammed into the minivan Krystal, her husband and twin one year old sons were in. Krystal and Joe were taking their sons home from a doctor visit and my child was killed by this drunk driver. That is reality.
My child was killed by a drunk driver and now I must build a new normal for myself in a world without my daughter and live my life helping make this world a better place as a legacy for Krystal. Heidi was the forgotten, ignored griever and because of that reality she is creating a new normal by working with survivors of 911, helping grieving teens, writing a book for grieving teens, and co hosting Healing the Grieving Heart to help bereaved siblings and to educate the public about the forgotten mourners – siblings.
What a legacy for her brother Scott. How dare Bryon Katie tell a bereaved parent or bereaved sibling to reconstruct reality in “positive terms”! To deny that a drunk driver (who happened to be her own mother) killed Carli or to deny that Heidi was the forgotten, ignored griever when her brother Scott was killed would be to deny reality! Yes, we must face reality, and by that facing reality build a new normal and hopefully make a legacy for our child, or sibling. But to change reality into the Polly Anna versions Bryon Katie recommends is not to face reality, but to twist it into some sugar coated version.
Bryon Katie’s children are alive, and she has absolutely no idea of the pain a bereaved parent and sibling must endure. I was extremely offended by her condescending manner in which she treated Scott and Carli’s death with the “advice” she gave to sugar coat and twist reality into a positive statement. She is clueless! She reminded me of all the unhelpful, hurtful comments we often hear, like “Your child/sibling is in a better place” “At least he didn’t suffer.” “Your child/sibling wouldn’t want you to be unhappy. Aren’t you over that yet? There is a reason everything happens. You have other children/ siblings. I know how you feel my dog/ parent/ grandparent died. God only takes the best. At least you had her 5 years. In fact, Bryon Katie actually said that one to Carl! Of course we are thankful for the time we had our child/sibling, but they were ripped from our lives way before their time. Only one who has never lost a child/sibling would say such an unkind thing to a bereaved parent/sibling. Sincerely, Jo Ann Webb, Krystal Duss’s mom (March 5, 1974 – December 10, 2003)