On September 11, 2001, I dropped the boys off at school and returned home with newborn Charli. I sat down in my comfy glider in the living room, nursing pillow resting in my lap with Charli nestled on top, and flipped on the TV to catch up on the news while my baby girl enjoyed her morning nourishment. It took a while to understand what was happening. Every channel blasted news of a plane crashing into the World Trade Center in New York City. We had stood on top of the WTC just nine months earlier.
As the horror played out on the screen in front of me, I continued to glide back and forth, back and forth, while Charli lounged in the most comfortable seat in the house. She had no idea that the landscape of her world was changed forever. She looks for seats closest to the end at a concert and for the closest exit on a plane. She weighs the possibilities for terrorism inherent in any travel opportunity.
To a large degree, all of us are out of control of our grief process. We can’t control the triggers, the waves, the pain, the timeline. But in a sense, at least it is ours to own.
For families of those whose lives were lost on 9/11, there are constant reminders in the form of political banter, media commentary, and a yearly commemoration. Standing at my vantage point today, my heart goes out to these families whose grief process is not their own. It intersects with the world’s process of remembering, honoring, debating, politicizing.
While the world was processing at a macro level the complexities of the 9/11 atrocity, families of those who died that day were also processing at a micro level. They can’t be gone….I just kissed them goodbye this morning. My son will never know his father…or his mother. The grief is different for them now than it was 18 years ago. Just different. Not gone. And still, it is simultaneously global and intimate.
I am by no means minimizing or comparing the pain that accompanies any loss. The degree of pain and the manner in which the grief process occurs is different for all of us. I’m just saying that today, my heart and mind remembered 9/11 in a different way than ever before.
God, bring comfort even now to those who are missing their loved ones, lost in the horror of 9/11. Bring redemption through good works, loving acts of kindness, carrying out of justice, and lives continuing to honor those who were lost. Amen.