I wasn't going to post today. With so many tributes, and so many already writing about it in ways that are much more eloquent than I could ever hope to be, I decided not to say anything.
I won't write about where I was or how I felt, or about the changes it made in the lives of my family and friends. Or even about those lost.
What I WILL write about is the fear for those first responders that are getting cancer. There are many who have died. It's an issue that, like practically everything else these days, has become politicized and polarizing. But it shouldn't be. The EPA was given outdated information and declared the air at Ground Zero safe. But it wasn't. They didn't do it deliberately. There was so much confusion, so many things were unknown during the weeks and months that followed that awful day. But now we know better, and now maybe something can be done.
I also fear for the people who have survivors' guilt. From the responders who survived, to the people who made it out of the towers, to the people at the airport gates who allowed the highjackers onto the planes. The ones who blame themselves, even when there is no blame to place on them. Who suffer from deep depression, alcoholism, addiction, divorce, PTSD, and obsessive thinking about the events of that day. I pray that they will find peace and be able to fully live again.
I also pray that we as a country are able to find our best self again. To let go of the pettiness that has defined much of the past decade, to realize that those who believe other than we do, or who behave, live, look, love differently, are still human beings of equal value. To stop demonizing one another (even in election years!).
So much has changed since that September day, and much of it is not for the better. Sometimes it seems as if no time at all has passed, and other times it feels like lifetimes ago.
But there are positive changes, as well.
I was a brand-new, terrified mother. Now I'm an experienced parent of 2 children. I was a daughter of two parents who still had a great influence on me. Now I've lost one of them, and I am a friend to the other, and often worry, because she's getting on in years. I was insecure, still trying to find my voice. While I'm still on an ever-changing path, I no longer apologize for who I am or try to be someone else in order to please others. The shifting sands have mostly settled, and I am far more at peace now than I was then.
Much of the past few years have been about learning that loving myself is the first step toward loving others and having true empathy. That a lot of my suffering has been self-imposed and needless. And, a big one for me, that G-d's love is boundless, and He really does want us to be happy,as trite as it may sound.
Finally, I am an adult. As immature as I sometimes feel (and act), I really am a grown-up.
Take care, everyone. Hug your loved ones, and remember the feelings we all have today.