Melissa Pullis, of Hazlet, N.J., stands at the engraving for her husband Edward at the World Trade Center site in New York City during memorial ceremonies for the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks Sept. 11, 2012. (Getty Images)
This morning I walked my daughter up the stairs to her preschool, and realized that she no longer needs help climbing those steps. It feels like only a few months ago when I was holding her left arm tightly while she climbed each one with focus and effort.
Yet, it’s been three years. Time seems to both drag and fly, doesn’t it?
As I packed up backpacks and tied shoes this morning I noticed my husband had ESPN on, and it was showing images of the towers falling. Playing clips of teary eyed daddys and grief stricken mamas who had lost their athletic sons in the catastrophe of that fall.
My mind clicked to check the date, that’s right, it’s September 11. Deep Breath, Flashback to that day, watching the towers fall on my parents television and later delivering those tragic newspapers to the doors of hundreds of homes.
Each paper felt heavy in my hand, a piece of history and tragedy leaving its inky mark on my hands and my life.
I can’t believe 11 years have passed since that date, the one I’m sure my children and grandchildren will ask me about the same way I asked my parents about the challenger explosion and the day JFK was shot.
We talked a lot in the raw days that followed Sept 11, 2001 about all that we lost as a country, our sense of safety was gone and we realized that war would no longer be easy to identify or contain.
We grieved as a nation and I think that we still do, even though the years have healed our wounds into scars.
Sept 11 is a grief that we all share, in a way.
But eleven years later, this shared grief has been easy to put on a shelf and convert into a memory, a story. Eleven years later Sept 11 is a fairly easy day for me to endure, there is sadness and remembering, but there is routine and normal life in spite of it.
But there are days on my calendar that aren’t easy to endure because for me the loss on those dates is personal, it marks another year without someone I love, someone who shaped me, gave me life.
The two year anniversary of my Mother’s death is coming up in just over a month and anytime I think about it I hyperventilate a little bit. Two years seems like a unbearable gap between this moment and our last conversation.
I long to go back and save her, to intervene somehow. But I can’t, and so I live in a world where train whistles chill me to the core.
This grief, October 13, is personal and scoffs at the thought of life going on as usual.
And it is this feeling that the mamas, daddys, wives, husbands, brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, aunts, uncles, grandmothers, grandfathers and friends of the 3,000 lost in the twin towers feel today, right now.
I’m sure that for them, watching the towers fall on TV is a lot like a train whistle is to me. Not just a piece of history or technology but the gut wrenching thing that brings them back to the moment of impact. The moment they lost someone senselessly and permanently.
It’s the that they wish they could go back and change, to convince them not to go to work that day, not to respond to the call.
The strange thing about grief over time is that it feels like it flies by and drags on all at the same time.
We rail and shirk at the idea that another year separates us from those we love, and that there is no bargaining chip, no option B, nothing we can do about it.
So today as the thought of shared grief arises within you, may we prayers and dedicate our tears to those who can’t get off the couch today, who can’t watch the news, who can’t believe that another year has come between them and their dear one.