It was not my intention to write a 9/11 piece this year but this morning, I read a few of the many that are floating about and nothing quite hit the spot in my heart. I went searching for the one I wrote last year and, frankly, was surprised to find that it feels more true today than it did when I wrote it. If you’ve already read it, please excuse the repetition. I offer what follows in the spirit of love and healing for ourselves, all people, and our beautiful planet…
Yes, of course I remember 9/11. Without even closing my eyes, I can experience every single detail of that day as if I’m walking through it again right now. For two weeks straight, I’ve had one foot in today and the other in that day, since I first realized the deadline for a tenth anniversary piece was upon me. I’ve tried and failed to write something poignant a hundred times since then, but slipping in and out of that day feels strangely comforting. It’s like running into an old friend who was there when a part of me died.
I still don’t know what to say about it. But I know that I’ve never before felt so much, had so much to say, and been at such a profound loss for words. Instead, I stumble through a lifetime of memories, measuring and sorting, trying to find a way to make sense of this state I’m in, of this state we are all in. It’s been ten years, perhaps the longest and shortest ten years in history. Now, we’re here–looking back and also forward.
I was once with a woman when the doctor told her that her husband–who she thought was in the process of recovering from a heart attack–was dead. I watched the shock roll through her body, mercilessly exposing her soul to the grief that all but consumed her that night and in the months and probably years that followed. Much died that night–her husband, her daughter’s father, the second child they were trying to conceive, the future, certainty, security… and I imagine many other things I can’t conceive of.
I’ve lost things too, mostly innocence. I’ve lost the belief that people my age don’t die, unless there is some sort of drunk driving incident or other freak accident. I’ve lost the belief that eating irresponsibly won’t cost you your life until you are old. Some time ago now, I lost the belief that my husband leaving while I was still pregnant with our second child was a damn tragedy. Then in the hospital with the woman that night, I met tragedy in a whole new way, and it rocked my world.