Saturday, September 11, 2010
In Memory On This Hallowed Day
I sat down to work on my next newsletter, but here is what came instead.
September 11, 1960
My mother gathers all 5 of us kids together in the living room. My oldest sister is 8 years old; my youngest brother is 10 months old. We all sit on the couch in the corner of the room. She tells us that daddy has died. I can’t remember more than that about that day. I remember seeing the tractor that fell on him in the yard – its steering wheel bent and mangled. I remember all the relatives coming to visit and taking us kids to the five and dime to get us toys. I remember his funeral – that I wore my fancy petticoat and kept squirming around and it kept rustling. I remember that someone told me he would be there that day and so I kept looking for him. Where was he? What would he look like since he is dead? I didn’t really grasp it all – after all who could? But the new realization that awakened because of that day was – be happy with what you do today, tomorrow might not come.
September 11, 2001
8AM - I am walking my dog, Siuler, on our regular two mile walk. It’s a beautiful day, bright blue sky, perfect temperature. I am remembering my dad. I am thinking about the huge impact his loss had for me across my life, and in ways I never could have imagined. I am thinking about how much work I’ve done on this issue, how long it had taken me to unlock that deep, dark frozen territory and expose it to the sun. I’ve traveled far in my awareness, understanding, and personal growth. A plane flies overhead – we are under the flight patterns for both Manchester NH and Boston. I am at peace, at long last, with myself and the world about this.
Siuler and I finish our walk and jump in the car to drive to the farm so I can give a riding lesson at 9AM. I’m listening to the radio as I drive. They are talking now about an explosion that has just happened at the World Trade Center Twin Towers in NYC. They think a small plane flew into it accidentally. I’m thinking how horrible this is. I’m almost at the farm, and now they are talking about a second plane that has flown into the Twin Towers. I pull my car in to see Karen running the hose to fill a water tub and Cathy warming up on her horse for our lesson. I jump out and in disbelief say, “Do you know what’s going on right now?” They both stare at me blankly and so no, what do you mean? I tell them about the 2 planes in NYC. Karen goes in and turns her TV on. Cathy and I start the lesson, tentatively, not really knowing what to do next. Karen comes out to say a third plane has flown into the Pentagon. Now we are dumbstruck. And helpless. Next we learn of the PA plane down. At that moment I realized I might not see tomorrow.
I did see tomorrow and the next day, and the next….. But September 11 had an added depth, if that was possible. Not only was it the day I lost my innocence 41 years before, but now I watched as our country lost its innocence too.
In honor of this day and its significance in my life and the lives of so many others, I offer you this: Be happy with the day, be happy with who you are and what you do. Stop, breathe deeply, and give thanks that we are all here today.