Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering and Living

12 years later, I still stumble and pause every time I am about to enter something on my calendar for September 11. For about two weeks ahead of the date, sometimes more, I have trouble considering that this day, is another day like any other.

And then I forget the dates, what day of the week I am living in, and I make my way out of the house as per usual.

On the highway today I became aware of the date again - It's Wednesday. It's 9/11. I cannot believe I am driving along the highway - living normally on a day that in 2001 was so incredibly un-normal. And wondering how it was that any of us can operate as per usual on this kind of day of rememberance.

Then I had a flashback to being 16 years old on a trip to Europe. It was 1996 and I was visiting Terezin, a concentration camp. People live there ride bicycles and eat ice cream cones. People live. And, I had a difficult time understanding this, and was angry even, as I lit my yahrzeit candle alongside the train-tracks where my people had been delivered.

It was in this moment of remembering that I realized how judgmental I had been at that time of 16. After all, here I am driving along the highway on my way to live my regular life. I am doing this on a day that is painful for many of us (if not all of us) and especially my family. I am doing regular life on a day where many mark the loss - the yahrzeit - of a very close, dear loved one. And who am I to judge?

Somehow, life must go on.

If in every place, day or moment life could not exist because death had occurred there or then, we would have no life.

So, now what I am wondering is how to hold both. How is it that I will hold remembering and honoring - practicing this alongside living into the next moment and allowing tomorrow to flourish? How will you?

With love and rememberance,


  1. Such beautiful words. Every time I see the date - September 11 - written in some normal context unrelated to the tragedy of 2001, my breath catches. Every time I've seen a crystal blue September sky over the last twelve years, my heart pauses. Then, last week, I realized that I had never noticed a sky that beautiful before 9/11/2001, but had noticed dozens since. So, surely there had been such beautiful September skies before that wretched day. In that moment I realized I had been holding all of the loss and none of the gifts of that day, and that I now want to hold both. The balance heavily tips toward loss, but I don't see how ignoring the gifts serves a good purpose. Your post expresses all of that to me. Thank you.

    1. Thanks for your words. This is beautifully expressed. I know the breath catch well. It never shifts, and I am thankful for that. The that is indeed a great gift born of tragedy.