9/11 Redux

The older I get, the more often music–the right song at the right time–threatens to drown me in a flood of poignancy.

I was driving to our state capital this morning for a board meeting, searching for a radio station signal strong enough to get me through the next 15 miles. I came across a spate of commemorations for 9/11.

One station played Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You”. It seemed powerfully appropriate. You can listen to the song here, and read the lyrics here.

Sarah is one of my favorite performers, whose emotional interpretation often wrenches my heart. This song, at this moment, nearly forced me to pull off the road.

But I was late for a meeting, so I kept driving.

I cried for miles.

I remember it was an achingly beautiful day, just like today. I remember the shock, which felt like a physical blow and the anguish as each unbearable new detail was revealed.

I remember wondering how I would talk to my kids about it. What was their legacy going to be?

It seemed they would inherit a vicious world filled with hate and terrorism. How to you teach a child to live in a world like that?

And yet something good remains behind, always. We can still choose how to act, how to think, how to flourish.

And here we are, years later, ‘still kickin” as an old Yankee friend of mine used to say. It’s another achingly beautiful day, one that makes you feel happy for no particular reason at all.

Winter’s coming, though. Oddly, now our greatest fear is that the cost of oil will soar, and we don’t be able to pay for heat. Wood pellets are already in short supply. We fear we’ll run freeze to death this winter. We may not get our new wood-fired heating system approved in time to install before the harsh winter predicted by the Old Farmer’s Almanac. (We know we’ll manage, but there are many, many people who won’t be able to.)

And I always wonder if posting my thoughts on achieving yet another birthday (my 27th 29th birthday!) seems trivial in light of our great loss on that day seven years ago.

Whatever. Life goes on. And I think the world is big enough for both threads.

Enjoy the day.

Remember.

Try to make decisions from love and strength, not fear.

Hold your loved ones close today, no matter how bratty they are. Tell them you love them.

And send me birthday cake! (Lots of frosting, please.)

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3 Comments

Filed under 9/11, life

3 responses to “9/11 Redux

  1. Ellen

    I live just a few miles from the Pentagon. Every year I think we should not be going about our ordinary business on Sept 11, and then I think, this must be what the folks who lived through Pearl Harbor must have felt every year. I had to turn off the radio yesterday. It was making me too sad. I’m wondering how many years will have to pass before I can approach Sept 11 as just another day. Do you have happy birthdays now, or are they overshadowed by sadness?

  2. Yup. On That Day, I was driving to work listening to the local rock n roll station, and the shock jock came on, talking about the events in New York. I though he was making a joke in EXTREMELY poor taste, so I spun the dial to another music station . . . where the jock was talking about New York. I still didn’t think it could really happen–not HERE– so I checked the news station.

    Oh.

    And yet life DOES go on. Birthdays still happen, spring still follows winter. To crawl into a hole and plug your fingers in your ears and sing la-la-la to drown out the heartache means you can’t see the skies, smell the flowers, or hear the birds. There are tears, and there is cake.

    I make a killer Coca-Cola cake with chocolate glaze. Sending you a big gooey virtual piece with a tall glass of cold milk.

  3. Deborah Hill

    We have to go on. We must enjoy the beauty of fall and winter. We must enjoy the comfort of toasty warm beds and crackling fires. We must because those who lost there lives on that day cannot. So we must. They would not want to feel our guilt for enjoying the things that they no longer can.

    Take care, happy belated birthday

    Regards Deborah

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