We had our bulldog puppy Edgar for about two months when I found myself staring at him and feeling envious as I did so. He sniffed around the room, jumped around me and played with his toys and did the things that happy, silly little puppy dogs do. And I remember looking at him thinking that the way he was behaving was the way I had felt earlier that morning and I so desperately wanted to go back to the relative innocence that I think we all really had just before 8:46 AM on September 11, 2001. As strange and as silly as it sounds, I was jealous of a puppy dog because he had no idea of what was going on.
I recently had read that people will often re-watch old shows over and over again because they are comforting. People know how the show is going to end and during times of uncertainty, when the future becomes very cloudy, there is enormous comfort in knowing how even the littlest thing is going to end. I spent chunks of 9/11 watching Law & Order reruns on the Lifetime channel (I think). It was one of the only channels that had not abandoned their regular programming in favor of the attack coverage and I would escape to it from time to time when I just could not take the live coverage. I found it comforting and an escape. To this day I still watch Law & Order when I am really stressed out (I have spent a lot of the last six months watching it). It brings me great comfort.
I don’t even think Andrea knows that is how I spent most of September 11, 2001…Sitting on the floor, flipping between Law & Order and the news and trying to play with a puppy dog.
I am not sure if I cried that day. I remember punching a couple of walls. I remember banging on the floor of our apartment. I even remember letting out a scream at one point. However, I do not remember crying that day. Yet now, 19 years later, I have to choke back tears and compose myself and go through my words slowly so they don’t break when I try to talk to Ben and Matt about that day. I want to talk to them about it. I feel I need to talk to them about it, but whenever I try to share a story or explain to them what that day and all those days after it were like, I am overwhelmed with emotion. All these years later and that pain is still so close to the surface.
And I think that is where it should stay. I think if the day came when I could talk openly about 9/11 without feeling like I need to weep it would be the day I would be betraying all the souls lost that day to the attacks and in the days since from the ensuing war and from cancer and illness caused by Ground Zero. I think this pain of 9/11 is something we should hold in our hearts in order to continue to remember all of those we lost.
And we will never be able to go back to the night of September 10, 2001, but I think it is important that we remember what that day was like and pass those stories down to the next generation, no matter how much it hurts. And when we have done that, we can go back to playing with puppy dogs and watching Law & Order.
Categories: September 11