Saturday, September 11, 2010

9/11 -Nine Years Later

Like most Americans today I have spent a little bit of time remembering where I was on September, 11th. My first born son was about to turn one-year-old and due to constant sleep deprivation we awoke after the first tower had been struck. The rest of the day was a total fog for me. I went about my daily routines but couldn't help but wonder what kind of world we would live in from now on. I wondered if I'd made a huge mistake by bringing my son into the world. I think this was a common thought around the country that day.

I have serious issues with anxiety. I worry way more than an average human being and I'm very thankful for the wonderful medications that exist to help people like me. I wasn't taking any such medication at the time however, and so for weeks after the event of 9/11 I obsessed over it. I watched every ounce of news coverage and read everything written about the day. I did this after watching the movie Titanic as well, and that had happened years ago. My obsession with the deaths of the people on that boat became consuming. The massacre at Columbine High School was by far the worst to date, including 9/11. There was something about that event that rocked me like no other of its kind. I needed to know everything about that day, those kids...everything. The last event I did this with was Hurricane Katrina. Since that I have gone on medication to deal with my paralyzing anxiety. But in addition to the medication, I've also learned that I cannot watch any coverage of these types of events on TV or read about them.

I guess that could be viewed as sticking my head in the sand, but I see it as preservation of my sanity. I read just enough to know what happened, and then that's it. My mind is simply not strong enough to handle it. Perhaps that's selfish given that so many people have lived through these things and I only watch them happen on TV. I'm sure that's true to some extent. But, I know how bad these things impact me, and I have two children who need me to have my wits about me every day, and I can promise you that during these events, I did not.

So my lack of attention and focus on the events of this day nine years ago does not mean that I don't care. It does not mean that I will ever forget what happened, or that I don't think about the victims. What it does mean is that I have moved on. I have learned how to process these awful things and see that our world is still a good place. I remember that we bonded together as a nation and that we joined with other nations who shared our grief. I also remember that people were born on this day, people got married on this day, the world did keep spinning and does continue to spin on 9/11 every year. While I remember those who lost their lives, I know that the only way we can honor their memory is to live our own lives. We can take the day to honor them and remember them, but we must live out the rest of our days looking for the good things in the world.

I no longer worry that I may have made a mistake by bringing children into this scary world. I don't live in fear anymore. I remember something a nurse told me once. She said, "This is the exception, not the rule". The horrors of our world sometimes seem like they are taking over, but if you stop and really look, you'll see that they are the exception and not the rule.

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