Reflections

This post is one of pain.
My brother-in-law died in a car accident 2 days ago. We were not close, we did not see each other often, but all my memories of him are positive ones. He was full of life, of energy. I liked him. He was younger than I. I don’t know if he was a “good man” or not, but I do know that he did good in the world and he served his family and his country.
I lived through Sept. 11, 2001. I was in NJ. I was at work when the reports started coming in. We were watching when the airwaves went dark because transmitters fell. The fighter jets thundered overhead, shaking the building. I had to pass police barricades to get to my son. I watched people jump. I don’t need to remember. I have never ever forgotten. My soul was seared.
I read a blog today by someone I (usually) respect. The implication I heard was “enough already, spare us all your recapitulations. other innocents in the world have been killed and no one mourns them”. I, too, am overwhelmed by the recounting and retelling. But the fact that other innocents have suffered and been killed does NOT diminish the pain of those who suffered here on September 11, 2001. Do NOT deny ANYONE the right to their grief, to their pain, to their memories, to their expressions of emotions.
My sister-in-law posted something that caught at me. She wrote: “Makes me wonder about all the people who lost loved ones on or around September 11, 2001, in ways unrelated to the terrorist attacks. Never thought about that until today.”
Loss is loss. Pain is pain.
We do need to heal the world to try to stop murder such as September 11, 2001 and all other such murders.
But people in pain need to mourn.
This post is poorly written and not very clear in its message. But I think what I might be trying to say is – Let the mourners mourn. Ignore the parts of the grieving that do not work for you, but do not belittle or deny the mourners. Start working to heal the world today, but understand that some people might not be able to join in that effort until tomorrow.

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2 Responses to “Reflections”


  1. 1 daleinnis September 11, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Well said! I admit I’ve also been having the “why do we make such a huge deal about these particular people’s pain?” thoughts, but I wouldn’t want that to become any kind of denial of it; thanks for the reminder.

    And very *hugs*.

  2. 2 Shenlei November 3, 2011 at 11:28 am

    I, too, will never forget. Having watched the second plane hit, and then having a front row seat to the Towers’ fall, it’s just…not something you can ever forget. The big fighter jets flying past at eye level – I remember looking out at one point of my 19th floor apartment and actually being able to see one of those pilots’ eyes.

    And then months of looking downtown and seeing that horrific smoke and wishing for it all to rewind. I’d like to forget. I really would. And while each year it gets a little easier; the march of minutes wears away the immediacy of it in the day-to-day, it’s still a part of the psyche. A break, a weakness that is now just there and you never know when you’ll simply be overwhelmed by what came after.

    I didn’t lose any family members. I lost friends, colleagues, a networking circle, and a way of life, and 9-11 started what was for me, a decade of exceptional challenge and pain. I cannot for the life of me, imagine what the husbands, wives, children, fiancees, and other close family members must feel, or where they are in their grieving process.

    If we learned nothing more from September 11, 2011, it is perhaps that each person’s experience in a shared trauma by necessity will be both grossly the same, and yet uniquely different.

    I’m sorry for your individual loss, Ahuva. And I’m sorry for our common shared loss.

    Life goes on. The sun will come up. And we kind of owe it to ourselves to make our lives matter, whatever of it we are given to live.


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