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 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.