Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Where were you...?
There are few days that I recall as vividly as today, 11 years ago - and none bringing back that feeling of forbidden, of emptiness, of speechless like this day. Every September 11th I go through the same emotions over and over and over again.
I have no personal loss from that day, but I think there is a general and generic feeling of loss we all bear.
Usually we would drive into work together (hubby and I almost always worked together :)) and that day was no different. We would go later, leaving home around 9:30 to arrive at about 10:00 in the office and we would have the radio on country music. At home - we would watch TV before leaving. Not sure why that morning we didn't watch any TV and had the radio in the car turned off. It was around 9:30 am and we were somewhere around Mississauga when our phone rang - an email from my mother in law, sent from Europe, asking if we are OK and talking about what a tragedy this is. First I panicked... then I was confused... while I automatically turned the radio on I found the CBC and heard in horror the anchors... calling the 2nd tower going down. It took a long while to figure out what had happened - the reporters were as confused as we were.
I still cannot talk about that moment without crying - for me it is an unthinkable moment, a senseless one. I am a very logical person and for me there is still no reason anyone would kill innocent people in the time of peace. I understand it would happen during war... but this was a perfectly nice and peaceful day! To this day - every September 11th I am quite a useless person - I have no energy and no will to do anything than sit, think, and pray.
The moment is a crossroad in my life - of course lots of events lay themselves temporally before or after the event. But many of my life decisions have been altered by that day. It was, probably, the day when I completely grew up, abruptly, in one split of a second. And I learned one important thing: life is not only precious, life is ephemeral. Nobody can guarantee you tomorrow - all you have is right now, this moment. It's up to you to live right now.
Just a day or so after 9/11 Alan Jackson (one of my favourites country singers ever) came with a song: "Where were you (when the world stopped turning)?". There were many songs afterwards, but that was the first I heard - and it's the most beautiful: the emotions of the day are captured in a very simple (thus more efficient) manner in the day-to-day questions, and the meaning of these simple questions has changed through the change of context.
Every time I hear the song (or I remember it) I also remember perfectly where I was and what I was doing. I remember the feeling of immobility, of mental paralysis, which almost immediately became physical and enveloped me for a long time. We watched for hours, days, weeks - at first hoping, then just being sad... and all the time praying.
Where were we that day? We were in another world, a world that ended that day, September 11th, 2001 at 8:47 am. A world we will never recover as it was.
What did we do since? For a few years - not much, we worked, worked, worked... until a few more things happened in our lives (one good, one sad, and many-many others in between) - and then we sat down one day, looked at each other and asked ourselves: what are we doing? And we have changed almost everything in our lives since - we try to live in the moment more; we appreciate every moment we are being gifted with, every friend we have, every person that touches our lives; we pray more, we smile more, we laugh more.
Where were you when the world stopped turning?