This is the first time since 9/11 that I haven’t lived in New York. And it makes me feel off kilter. My friends in New York don’t talk about 9/11 very often. It’s just a part of a shared history.
I think about friends who suffered deep, life altering losses. I think about images that can never be erased. Twelve years is a long time. But when it comes to loss, it is nothing.
Five years ago, Congress declared 9/11 a National Day of Service and Remembrance.
I will certainly remember. The pain, the chaos, the lost souls. The inability to roll back time – when you desperately want to.
I haven’t quite figured out how to serve. How I can honor this day amongst palm trees, new routines and a world where I don’t quite have my footing yet?
Each year, my older girls (6 and almost 9) learn more about 9-11. This year, they had a lot of questions about the planes, the buildings, the firefighters, all the people who didn’t come home that night.
I can’t bear to tell them everything. I can’t tell them what their daddy witnessed when his news station sent him down to the World Trade Center. Or the innocent faces on those missing person flyers that blanketed the city for weeks and weeks. Or the New York Times Portraits of Grief that haunt me.
I tell them that very good people died that day. And the days that followed from breathing toxic air at Ground Zero or fighting on foreign battlefields. And they are deeply missed.
And we must honor them and their families.
By being kind and respectful to others.
Praying for the families left behind.
And just taking a moment to be grateful for whatever we have in our lives. Whether it be whining children, dirty dishes or messy houses. Because we are all lucky to be here, in lives that are just too short.