"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." - Vincent Van Gogh

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

We Will Never Forget...

9-11-2001 the day that we will never forget. Every year this day in September day rolls around and we remember... the lost, the heroes, and the terror.

We remember what exactly we were doing on that day, where our loved ones were and the sick, sinking feeling of dread and disbelief in our souls.

It started as a day like any other day. I was awakened by the phone. My friend said calmly, "Turn on the TV, something hit the World Trade Center". Too poor to have cable reception, I watched on my black and white 12 inch screen with the busted antenna still in a dazed sleep state. This couldn't be real. It was all a mistake. I must be still dreaming.... but I wasn't.

Later that day, still stunned,  I banged the top of my head on the hatch back to my car in the grocery store parking lot, causing a huge gash in my scalp. Blood spewed out of my head as employees already on high alert raced around getting me supplies for my relief. The doctor sent me to the ER for staples in my head, explaining to me that if I did not get this fixed, I would have a bald spot. I reluctantly set off for the hospital.

The emergency room was unusually crowded that evening. Chest pains and elevated blood pressure signaled the distress of a people changed forever. On the large TV sets mounted in the waiting room we watched the towers sink to the ground over and over again, etching the horror more deeply into our hearts. Anxiety symptoms in the patients worsened and I felt that I too would become ill. I wished that they would turn off the TV, and yet I sat glued in my chair watching in horror and disbelief. I just wanted to be home with my babies, holding them and protecting them from the world that I had brought them into. After eight long hours the cut in my head was stitched, but the gash in my heart would remain to this day.

Perhaps that day was doubly hard for me as so many others I knew because I was born and raised in the NYC Metro Area. The Twin Towers and all their glory could be seen often in my daily ventures. I remember when they were built. I remember all the exciting trips that we would take in the subway under the Hudson River as we took "The Path" in and came out in the World Trade Center. I can still feel the swaying of the buildings as I stood in the observatory numerous times, nose pressed against the glass windows looking down over the my favorite city or across the river. I even remember the gift shop with their collection of posters and postcards and other assorted clutter. 

Less than a year before the terror, I had moved away from North Jersey and was settled in New England but my friends that stayed behind all have vivid stories of the clouds of rubble and smoke that saturated the air in the weeks to follow. They can recall the sad tales of people that they knew personally who worked in the tower and didn't come out. Also told were the stories of those we loved who were sick that day and didn't go in or couldn't get themselves to work on time. Still yet dear ones recounted their exodus from the city on that frightful day.  The fear... the guilt.. the wonder...the sadness.

It was a day that changed all our lives. Our sense of safety was challenged. We are now inconvenienced every time we get on a plane. Proving our identity has become equally frustrating and challenging at times as we walk through the hoops that have been laid out for our safety and that of others. The world truly will never be the same. Our innocence is lost.

I met a friend at the MOMA recently. We spoke of 9/11 and of those who had lost husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts. We marveled at the strength of the human spirit to go on in the wake of such tragedy and work to rebuild their lives. Some have been able to gain the fortitude to move on, forgive but never forget and build a new life for themselves and their children. Other wounded souls have been unable to make peace with the tragedy and live each day in pain and with a deep sense of loss. They hold on for fear of losing the memory and connection with their loved one that was suddenly stolen from them that day.

What makes the difference in the human soul? Why can some move on and yet others remain stuck? I won't venture to give an answer, but today, I'm going to say a special prayer for those who were the most affected by this tragedy. I pray that they will find healing for their souls and rest for their burdened hearts. I hope that they will be able to again regain joy and beauty in this fallen world and experience true peace in their spirit. In a mystical sense, our souls are all bound. When one soul hurts, we all hurt. Today we join spirits with our brothers and sisters. Today we become a people of hope who do not let evil destroy us. Today we remember...

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