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Friday, December 28, 2012

Keeping The Faith In A Difficult Year

Members of the Rutter family of Sandy Hook, Conn., embrace early Christmas morning as they stand near memorials by the Sandy Hook firehouse in Newtown, Conn. (Craig Ruttle/AP)

Members of the Rutter family of Sandy Hook, Conn., embrace early Christmas morning as they stand near memorials by the Sandy Hook firehouse in Newtown, Conn. (Craig Ruttle/AP)

In a year that is ending with the horror of the Newtown massacre we wondered, how can we deal with the unspeakable grief left over from that day?

We thought our old friend Bruce Feiler would be a good person to ask.

Author of books such as “Walking The Bible” and “America’s Prophet: How The Story Of Moses Shaped America,” Feiler is also a cancer survivor.

“She said, ‘It’s so much worse than even the media can portray. Hug your children close.’”
– Bruce Feiler, on a note from a Newtown mom

Feiler has spent the past couple of years working on a new book, “The Secrets Of Happy Families,” which comes out in February 2013.

“One of the families that I chronicle in my book lives in Newtown, Conn.” Feiler said. “We were actually talking about sex and how to talk to your children about those kinds of issues.”

In the wake of the tragedy, Feiler sent the mother in the family a short note.

“She wrote back something that was very poignant,” he said. “She said, ‘It’s so much worse than even the media can portray. Hug your children close.’”

Research has shown that people do re spond to difficult times, Feiler said.

“Some people really are devastated and never recover,” he said. “But a lot of people come back, and an extraordinary number of these people actually experience psychological growth. Actually this phenomenon has a name now – it’s called post traumatic growth.”

Previous interviews with Feiler:

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Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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