Sunday, September 11, 2011

September 11th is a reminder of our ability to come together

Today I am struck with the how, why and where's. And what I would have said to my children, had I had children then, on that September 11th morning born of a crisp blue sky, when five minutes before people were going about their day, alive, and then they were not.

We all have our memories of where we were when it happened. I remember I had left for work, and turned on NPR for my commute, as I did every morning. I only drove a few blocks, before turning around and coming home. Sobered, and not clear at all on what I was really hearing, I walked back in the front door and called out to my husband. We turned on the television. And, sat there for hours, watching the twin towers fall again, and again.

I turned 40 eight days later. We had a party. It was a little odd celebrating life and decades lived, when just days before there had been so much death. Although I hadn't been anywhere near the tragedies on that day, I still wondered...why me? Why do I get to be here and celebrate 40 years, and they don't? What is my purpose?

I'm not sure what I would have said to my children had they been here on 9/11. But, I have been thinking about all of the parents who did have to explain this day of tragedy, 10 years ago. And, of the children whose parents did not come home that day. Or ever again.

I wonder about the moms and dads who until that day were like me. Perhaps they worried that their daughter would forget to look both ways before she crossed the street. Or, that their car would be sideswiped at the exact moment that their son was playing, yet again, with his seat belt. Did they worry that they might not be the parents that they yearned to be? That they weren't sure they were strong enough, resilient enough, to see their child with extreme attention difficulties, through his school years. Or, worry that their daughter would later blame them for blatant neglect, their own energy and attention sucked into the child with challenges.

These are my worries today. I am blessed to have them, although I rarely feel that way, getting sucked into my own self-involved vortex.

September 11th is a reminder of our ability to come together in the midst of horrific tragedy, and that there is no community too large. It is the stories we share together that move us. And the Chapter of 9/11 cuts a wide swath, yet an opportunity to reach out to one another.

My children are still young. Yet, I hope that I can share more with them than the death and devastation of that day. Perhaps the purpose for some of us, is to stretch and grow and strain and even breakdown. Because we can... those that died cannot. And, they'd do it for us.

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  1. I watched the footage last night, and one thing really struck me, and is something you mentioned here. There was footage of a guy, walking down the street, covered in debris, and he looked at the camera and said, "I'm having a really bad day". In fact, he was having a good day, because he was alive! We certainly don't often see our worries as blessings, but they are because we are alive to feel them!

  2. That day really did change us all. I don't think any of us will ever be the same, we see things differently, feel differently and love differently.
    Beautifully written...take care, Suz

  3. Thoughtful post, Jennifer...

    My son was 9 at the time, getting ready for school, when we got a call from a friend in a more easterly city who shouted: "TURN ON YOUR TV!!" and we did. My son didn't know what to think - "I have to get to school, Mom!" - so I rushed him off, all we parents looked at each other in the parking lot with shell shock and, like you, I returned home to my husband and the TV that was on for the rest of the next several days. From that moment on we had no choice but to embark upon a conversation designed for a 9 year old about the truth of hate and violence in the world. As was his way, he didn't ponder it too deeply at the time, but it became a part of the tapestry of his childhood that will, no doubt, remain a significant memory, as JFK's death was for me. We are all a part of this world. It impacts us all. We have to acknowledge the pain but remember, too, how profoundly beautiful life can be as well. A balance we teach our children every day....

  4. It changed the United States for good--it is important that we try to keep the perspective it gave us.

  5. Well,, it seems you have lived some a great life,, it reflects in your blog.


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