I didn’t think that I would feel so lost this early in August, and yet here I am.
I feel ungrateful that I had a few months of traveling to different places and can’t focus on those amazing experiences to get out of this dark cloud.
I forced myself out of bed this morning. I still have no idea what to do but I’m looking forward to six o’clock so I can justify getting back in bed.
My husband is still asleep. He feels it too but he doesn’t say much. He never has. I know he is thinking of the friends he worked with that are now gone because of that horrible day and because of illnesses they contacted when they were in the pit.
We walk on eggshells now because this 9/11 cloud is slowly brewing. This is the time when we can’t find the right words to say. This is the time when we fear going out, for no apparent reason.
I’ve got lots to do to keep me busy but I have no motivation to do any of it.
I know I’m not alone. Still, trying to reach out to those that feel what I feel prevents me from reaching out to them. I don’t want to add to their depression.
I know they feel the same way.
We say to each other all the time that we are there for each other. It’s true we are. But we also know the way the mind is working and so we feel guilt in reaching out for solace. It’s funny how I would have no problem picking up the phone to help a friend during this time, but I can’t seem to do that for myself. I wouldn’t know what to say. It’s all to mixed up in my head.
Artie Van Why is a friend. He knows what is in my heart, in my head. He knows what we all go through during this time. And yet, we’ve never met. We are connected because of this horrible tragedy. He has a heart of gold. But he has the same demons we all have because of 9/11. He puts himself out there so we can all not feel this solitude. I want to be Artie when I grow up.
How can all of us feel the same thing yet, feel so alone?
I remember the power talk I gave to my daughter who was sixteen years old when 9/11 happened. She didn’t want to go to school. She wanted to be with me. I needed her to be 16, so the power talk began.
“You must do all that you can do not to give into this fear. You have to continue living because those that did this to us would want us not to do just that. You must be the very best that you can be. So go into your classroom and be a student. Be a friend. Be you. And we will be okay. I promise.”
Off she went.
I did not believe one word I said to her that Monday morning when things were trying to get back to normal. So I drove my car underneath some trees and sat there until she got out of school, six hours later.
I would do this for about two weeks and every day she got into the car and asked, “How was your day mom?” And I’d make up something and we’d go back home and do the normal stuff we always did.
I couldn’t keep up this pretense. It was slowly eating me away. My husband would come home every night and say nothing. I could see his hurt. I could feel his helplessness. But he wouldn’t let us talk to him about his day.
I had to be a wife and a mom. I had no time to be Sonia.
Two weeks to the day that I began my story telling of how I spent my days, my daughter would ask me again, how was my day? As I began to spin yet another tale, she put her hand on mine and said, “Mom, you do know I can see you out the window, right?”
I lost it then. It was the first time I allowed myself to cry in front of my daughter. I put my head on the steering wheel and cried. I apologized for my deception and told her I just needed her to be 16.
“I stopped being 16 mom, on 9/11”
That is a painful thing to hear as a mother. I had sent her the wrong message.
Two days later, I became a recovery worker at Ground Zero. I had to erase the negative message I had given her and show her that we all had to do what was needed at a time like this. But we all had to continue to live, not in fear but in faith.
I saw then what was haunting my husband. It began to haunt me.
He wasn’t too happy about my doing midnights at the Respite Center but he understood that as a former EMT for the city of New York, it was in my blood. I had to be there. I had to help.
I would do it again in a heartbeat, minus the nightmares. But we all know that’s not possible. You can’t un-ring a bell.
Today, there are so many feeling what I am feeling. I am not alone. After sixteen years, one would think this would be a sad memory but not a paralyzing one. It is both for me.
Today, I will make the effort to get out of my way and do something productive. The thought of feeling this way for 31 more days is too much to deal with. Today, I will share a smile, a kind thought, a happy memory with anyone that cares to listen.
Sixteen years ago, nineteen men stole 2,977 voices, but they did not take mine.
You are loved.