Processing 9/11

I wasn’t going to write a Sept. 11th post. It’s almost a holy day, 15 years after the events, and I feel like I still haven’t processed what these events mean to me personally and us as a nation and the world. There is a visceral reaction of shock and sadness at the destruction and deaths, and at the same time awe for the service and self-sacrifice of the first responders. Can I put such raw emotions into words? Is it possible to verbalize lessons from such an experience? Is there a greater purpose for the “never forget” ing and plastering of 9/11 images every year on this day?

And then I wonder, why have I never asked these questions in the past. What has been holding me back from introspection these past 15 years? I know I made some very important life decisions in the wake of 9/11. Soon after, my boyfriend and I decided to get engaged, we have been married now for 14 years. The trauma of seeing people disappear in an instant, suddenly every second seemed precious. There was no more dilly-dallying to get it just right.

We were long-distance dating at this p0int, it no longer made sense to wait to start our lives together. We planned the wedding for 9 months time, when my school year commitment (I was teaching up in Northern California, he was finishing his post-doc down in South cal) would allow me to finally join him.

And then we would make another big life decision together: to move back East. We loved the chill relaxed California lifestyle (who would give up year round tennis and weekends at the beach?). But, suddenly, being closer to family on the East coast seemed paramount.

A new home, a new job, and then we began our journey toward parenthood. Six months into our young marriage, we made a conscious decision that we were ready to start a family. It took 4 painstaking years of trying, and perhaps that trauma itself, along with conceiving and losing twice, until we had our first child, pushed the events of 9/11 back in my mind.

Today, I am reflecting, thoughts bubbling up. I begin processing what seems like a lifetime ago and a moment ago.

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