Where I Was

Sep 11th

14 years ago today I was 17 and wading through grief, fear, and pain in my own life. My father died from cancer three months before and my mother was on her way to the doctor because she had just found a lump in her breast that we would soon find out was cancer. I was home from school sick, feverish, and depressed. When I woke up from a short morning nap, I looked at the television and saw planes crashing into the World Trade Center buildings. 

I first thought I was hallucinating from the high fever. Then I felt anger that though my own world was crashing around me and no one could see it the way they could see this tragedy. And then I remembered the families. All of the families who were about to feel all the pain that I was feeling plus feelings I could never imagine. I wept for them, for those that had been scared, for all who were touched, for me and the orphaned me I feared was about to be born. I wept for the dead and dying, and for the first responders. For those running from the rubble and for those running towards it. I wept for those who had ever lost someone and for those who had been lost and not had the whole world weep for them. I wept for the misguided souls who were the instruments of this tragedy. I wanted to pray. I tried to pray, but I could not.

I didn’t feel September 11th the way others did. I didn’t feel it selflessly or in fear for my life. I did not feel it truly compassionately.  Even now when I remember it, it is mired in the memories and tumultuous feelings of my seventeen year-old self. We all remember today where we were and what we were doing when we were attacked. May we also remember what we took away from the tragedy.  For me it was to mourn the loss of every life, and to feel as honestly and deeply as I can the loss of those who survive. To weep with them as if the whole world did for the victims of 9/11. To remember that whenever someone dies, life does crumble for those who survive them, and to shoulder a bit of their grief when I can.

May their memories be eternal!