My head aches. Each September 11th since 2001 starts the same way. I can’t sleep the night before. Not out of any particular dread but just because I can’t sleep.
I can feel the gates unlocking. It happens in the dark. I can’t hide from the dark, can I? I lie awake feeling my control slip away and the hurt squeezes me. I can’t get away from it today. Other days, when it slips out, I can put it back in the room marked “Do not enter.” The days that lead up to September 11th are mostly normal until about the 8th. That’s when I start to remember. Snippets of conversations. Last laughs. Email jokes. Things that are so mundane, so everyday that I know I’ll always remember them. Friends I hadn’t actually seen in months or years, carrying on knowing we’ll see each other eventually. Knowing …
In the early morning hours of September 11th, each memory unlocks the gate a little more until there is nothing between me and the flood. I haven’t really begun to deal with what happened 5 years ago. Who has? How can you? If you lost someone that day, there is so much to wade through. Last emails. Last phone calls. Little things you never knew. Wondering what they went through. Hoping they were killed quickly. Knowing that’s probably not true. Trying not to be so macabre with it.
But the reality is that it is macabre. And that’s why we shouldn’t forget it. Innocent lives were lost in the screeching of metal into metal, in the titanic roar of collapsing concrete, steel and glass. The reality is that people … my god, the people … trapped above the flames knew they were going to die. They knew in the moments before the buildings fell that it was falling. And that’s the reality you have to fight if you loved someone who died that day. In New York, in Washington, in the sky above Shanksville.
This is humanity at its worst. The rain of death since 2001 doesn’t help me either. I guess there are some who feel vindicated but I only feel more death. And it hurts. It hurts to the point where I can’t function today. Five years on and my heart is breaking. Five years on and I still can’t sift through everything. As a human race, we began a new century with death, writing our history in smoke and tears and blood.
But truly, those thoughts are too big for me right now. Right now, at this moment I can only re-live every moment of that horriffic morning. It wasn’t until the first tower fell that I realized what I was watching. I was watching the deaths of people I knew, the destruction of a city I love. This is a day of loss. Not just for America. For the world. I remembered that line in Star Wars when Obi-Wan Kenobi says “I felt as if millions of voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.” That’s how it was – thousands of voices crying out, suddenly silenced. A hole ripped open in our world by our own capacity for atrocity.
A headache only starts a day full of tears and endless memories. I was hoping I’d be able to go to New York this year but I just can’t do it. Yet. Maybe next year.
Anyway, blessings to you all. I hope one day we transform this day into an international day of peace. And I pray that we all, everyone on this planet, find peace. In our hearts and minds. In our actions.