Vow of a Survivor

SURVIVORA person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship, or setbacks.

I am not a widow.

I’m not a grieving child, co-worker, friend, parent or sibling.

I didn’t run from the smoky plume and in fact I was thousands of miles from the east coast on that day.

Instead… I walked somberly to the park with our one-year-old and sat helpless in the vacant, quiet sunshine.

I couldn’t share the television horror anymore.

On my solitary bench, I tried, desperately, to reconcile the babbling of my clueless  toddler with the silence of the eerily empty skies.

His world would never be the world of my childhood.

My general defense for overwhelming emotion was to be spurred to action, and with the sadness and grief that flooded my heart, there should have been some dramatic action.

I didn’t do anything that day.

I didn’t know what to do.   I have never felt so helpless in my entire life.

As the days went by, I prayed, I cried, I donated and I took thank you cookies to our local firefighters, but it felt intensely insignificant.

And still… ten years later, I feel small and incapable.

I can do little more than cry buckets while watching the memorials, tear up with the mention of a name, cry more at the recollection of the heroic and horribly tragic stories. I can do that…I can remember… and I can write.

I don’t deserve to be this sad. I don’t deserve these tears…this heartbreak.

The tears come anyway. I just can’t help it.  Maybe that’s all I’m meant to do. I cry because I remember. I write because it’s the only thing I can do.

There are millions and millions of survivors from that day. Those of us who experienced the fear from the comfort of our living rooms or the desks in our offices.

What do we do with that?

We remember…

We memorialize, we pray, we cry, we teach, we cry, we write, we sing, we put together photo montages and with every passing day…we survive.

I cannot change my role for that event, and so now I need to continue to live on, to move forward, to function despite hardship and opposition.

I’m a survivor and I vow to Never Forget.

11 thoughts on “Vow of a Survivor

  1. I loved what you wrote here. It’s a perspective that I haven’t heard yet, but one I’m sure many of us are feeling. I am in Calif, far removed physically, from what happened that day. But we all acknowledge that what happened in NY, happened to all of us in that it changed our world-view forever. AND of course, we are all human on this planet together. We feel sorrow over such senseless loss.

    I want to let it all sink in today and just go with the feeling. Thank you for sharing this today.

    • Thanks Michael Ann. I suppose it is a necessary exercise for a writer to write about something for which I feel utterly useless otherwise. My hope is that everyone takes pause today…no matter where we are with the experience. MMF

    • Thanks for the reminder: Love is the ultimate weapon. It is with love I hope to arm myself against fear, anger, and terror and to do so much more with my life than to simply survive. MMF

  2. Really great post. I wrote about my experiences on my blog too. But I really like the line you wrote that you cry, yet you don’t deserve to be this sad as you did not loose anyone and suffer like others did. I feel the exact way. I still cry every time I see the images and listen to the songs about that day. Yet I often wonder why being as I lived in California at the time and did not have a personal connection to any of the attacks. But I think we all lost something that day and that kind of hate and terror is so scary and sad. The only way to react is to cry. And I’ve come to the conclusion that the crying and sadness is good. It means we are still affected and we will not forget.

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