10 more days…
It’s not morbid but for some it is and I can understand that. It is just like when someone goes on and on about a situation in their lives. You want to help them, you do offer advice and a good ear, a shoulder to lean on, and then you find that they did something else and are still back in the situation. It’s a cycle for them and it becomes a bit much for you. You say to yourself, you are staying away. It’s toxic. I get that. Many of us do.
Just the same, Thanks for the ear, I needed to be heard because sometimes, I just don’t talk about it and that’s worse. Sometimes, I can’t get words out. Sometimes the teas beome over whelming. Sometimes I even pretend I’m okay,but I’m not.Sometimes, I don’t want to be that person that goes on and on and does nothing to change their situation. I’m not the only one. Please remember that for many of us, we want to push this aside. It’s not that we want to forget, for we never will. We just want to stop this incredible sadness, these horrible dreams and all the rest that comes along with a tragedy that so many witnessed and we lived.
This is not a situation. This is a bad memory. This is a traumatic experience that I live over and over again, at any time, at any moment, especially now, the days before September 11th. I relive it. I remember things I thought I had forgotten or did I forget and just pushed it out of my mind because that thought, that moment, was just a bit too much for my mind to remember? I honestly don’t know. I thought I did.
I am not alone either. But for those of us that feel what I just described, it’s comforting to know we are not alone, but we still feel alone. And that only makes sense to us.
I never did much those first few years. And then I found a home. I found a family that was created out of need, understanding, compassion, love and hope. My family has grown. We share more of ourselves with each other than we do with our close friends and our biological families because we just don’t want them to have to relive what we did. And to be honest, not many of us talked much after our experiences, it was too hard and now to try to explain a memory, a thought, a fear or an experience we had never mentioned before, makes us feel guilty for adding this burden to our loved ones. So we remain silent counting the days when we can be with those that get it.
None of us want to be where we’ll be now and in the next few days. Or for the years. It doesn’t feel like 15 years.
Here’s how it looks from my side:
You watch a movie. You know how it ends. If you like that movie, you may watch it 5, 10, maybe 20 more times. You know how it ends. There are times when you’ll get up, get a quick drink, no pausing of the movie because you know what happens next. Movie is over and you think of something else.
So September 1st, it hits me. I know how the movie ends but it plays out in my head, every single day. Every moment, every situation, every person, place and thing. There is no pause button. Then I go to sleep hoping that the slumber will wash over me and let me rest until morning. But even if I do get some sleep, morning still comes and then its September 2nd. I have 9 more days or is it 8?I don’t know. If I count, it always ends up with the number 11. There is no remake of this movie. The characters stay the same. Nothing changes. And then it’s night-time again. You pray that maybe since you are so tired, that tonight will be the night where you can sleep for more than two hours and not walk around in the dark, hoping that slumber will come and take over. But that’s the night that you remember the dust particles floating in the air when you were at Ground Zero and you remember that you watched two particles going up, up, up where all the powerful lights were in the middle of the night. While your daughter was asleep and your husband was trying to rest up from his hours in the pit, you hug another First Responder. You cry with another Recovery Worker and you stand outside in the middle of the night and watch those two particles of dust roaming the air until you follow it’s path, into the light, up and away. And you think to yourself, “Those are my friends. They are making their way home.” That’s how I comforted myself. That’s how I was able to get through my mid-night shifts at Ground Zero. You walk back to your station, put on a smile, take a deep swallow and begin your work again. I know now, that was so many of us did. We had the same smiles.
Your shift ends, you are tired, achy and all you crave is your bed. But when you get home, all you can do is lie there thinking of those particles, your friends, the path you walked on your break, the mud that got caught in your shoe, the haunted eyes of those that you helped and before you know it, it’s time to get ready to do it all over again.
And that’s just September 2nd. At least that part’s over.
I don’t know what tomorrow will bring and the Good Lord knows I try to stray, I try to distract myself but there is always something, one thing; A song, a smell, or a phrase and the movie plays over and over again. Is it worth trying so hard to do all that when it always ends the same? Do I just give up?
Last night, I read. Then I read some more. Then I watched some TV and read some more. No matter what any of us do these next few days, we know how it all ends and we are helpless.
I don’t like calling it the 15th anniversary. Anniversary is something you celebrate. But I don’t want to find another word either. I have to put too much thought into it and I don’t want to think about it. It still sneaks up on you, no matter how you try to avoid it. It’s a difficult time for so many of us.
I learned last night that I can’t change a damn thing but I can control some things if I try hard enough. I don’t ever want to get to the point where trying becomes too hard. Since I can’t change the way things will end, since I can’t escape it nor distract from it, I will do what I do every day or at least try to do:
Show humanity to each other. Practice random acts of kindness. Be kind to each other and to yourself. Remember how we were all together as a city, a country, a nation 15 years ago? Why can’t we be that way today? So many shootings, bombings, senseless acts of hatred, bigotry and suffering. 15 years ago, we united. People held up signs as I and so many others drove to our designated areas. People we didn’t know came to say they care. People we didn’t know, came to support us. We have forgotten that.
Let’s remember those profound emotions. Race, religion, color was never an issue. Let us unite, put our differences aside at least for the next few days. I have to believe that when you start doing something every day, after a while it becomes a habit.
Break the hate habit, love thy neighbor.
This is no movie.