Letting go of 9/11 (originally published September 10, 2011)

ground zero, 9/11, Tribute in Light
As the world turns, 9/11 is upon us once again.  Internet, cable t.v. and talk radio are filled with 9/11 documentaries and interviews. Signs in my neighborhood indicate memorial service locations. Our country comes together to mourn once again.
I turn on the t.v. and immediately am drawn into a 2-hour special detailing that fateful morning minute by minute as it unfolded.  I turn it off.  I turn it on again and can’t tear myself away.  I start to cry and turn it off for good.
I’ve had enough.
One of the greatest gifts bestowed upon mankind is the lessening of our emotional pain with the passage of time.  We need this because we are the only living species on the planet that lives with the certain knowledge of our own mortality.
When a loved one passes away, a person goes through four stages of grief before arriving at the fifth and most important stage, acceptance. But when we relive the tragedy of 9/11 we continue to pull at the scab which makes healing difficult.
Nobody over the age of five will ever forget what happened on 9/11/2001 and our government representatives must incorporate the lessons learned from the mistakes that were made leading up to the attack.
That being said, I choose to reclaim 9/11.
My mother died a year ago on that date and at first I thought it was a good day for her to die because it was such an unhappy day. But I don’t want to remember my mother in her hospital room wasting away. I want to remember her having breakfast on her back porch, or doing emergency surgery on my toy cat, or tending to her orchids.  I don’t personally know anyone who died on 9/11 but I bet they’d wish the same for their loved ones.  Not to focus on the horrible imagery of planes crashing into buildings which transformed into smoky black funeral pyres.
My father-in-law who survived the most horrible massacre of all, the Holocaust, never spoke of those years. It’s not that he wanted the world to forget what happened, he didn’t. It’s just that he wanted to transfer the power from the culture of death to the culture of life. He had life and so he won. His father and brother weren’t lucky that way, but they lived on in his heart.
Every minute and every day is so precious. It’s really all we have in life… time… and it’s finite.