It snuck up on me this year. The summer seemed to be a mere moment and now here we are back at school.
September eleventh means so many things. People were born today, married today, got their first house today, and yes, many died today.
Today represents one of the most somber days in our recent history. The entire nation gripped in fear, great loss and helplessness. Most of us were glued to our television waiting for the next horror, praying that what we saw with our eyes was really a horror movie. But it happened. We were crushed as a nation, we were devastated as humans.
I remember several things about that day. First- we have friends in New York City. They are chosen family, some of the dearest people to my heart. The grid was down and I couldn’t get through to them. I was so worried that they were lost. I remember feeling physically ill seeking any shred of information about their safety.
I remember that morning, teaching an adult art class. NONE of my students knew what happened. I remember the pit in my stomach as I told them. I remember one of my students leaving saying that if this was “it” she was going to go with her best friend. (her husband) She quickly gathered her materials and went home.
I remember my daughter calling me sobbing. She wanted me to come get her. The school was not allowing students to leave. My sweet child’s fear gripped and crushed my heart. It was a very difficult moment as a parent.
I remember telling my youngest what had happened when he came home from school. He was so little at the time. But I remember his wise words, “Why can’t we all play nice?”
I remember hearing that one of our friends died in the towers. I had just danced with him at a mutual friend’s wedding. His young family left behind. It brought the senselessness even closer to home.
I remember feeling powerless. I remember praying for the countless souls I had never had the honor to meet that died that day. I remember their fingerprints etched on my heart.
I remember and I know you do too.
I think the thing that paralyzes me about this day is that I STILL feel powerless. I STILL feel like there is nothing I can do.
But perhaps there is… don’t sweep it under the rug, don’t forget because it is too painful, don’t let go of the profoundness of the day.
Also, profound sadness should not encourage you to cease all living. Celebrate your friend’s birthday, your cousin’s anniversary and your grandchild’s first step.
Countless people lost their lives so that you could do so.
and celebrate your life with gratitude.