My decision to blog again has much to do with the tenth anniversary of 9/11. I didn’t go into detail about how that day influenced my life in my early posts, truthfully, I skipped the experience entirely. Everybody has their own version of that day, and each one carries a unique burden in that experience. Those experiences should not be trivialized or diminished as so often happens when comparisons are made. I have held my memory of that day close to my heart, protecting it from cynicism and recrimination.
I avoided all media exposure on the anniversary. Instead, I sat outside in the sunshine and read a romance novel, avoidance in a truly self-indulgent fashion. When I had read the last page and the sun had dropped below the horizon I felt ashamed. Without my distractions I began to feel that I had desecrated the sanctity of that day, that I had disrespected the memory of the lives that were lost. Some days later I read a memorial blog that changed my perspective.
From ‘Ephemera and Pseudo-Events’ by J.N. Nielsen:
“An anniversary is an arbitrary thing – the length of a year is utterly arbitrary – but it is natural to want to commemorate a loss, as it is natural to want to celebrate some joyous occasion. … To memorialize an event is to prevent its repetition, the render it singular, although we must relive the trauma in each memorialization. Failure to memorialize an event means that it will be visited upon us time and again, though we will be spared the retraumatization of the continual consciousness of the event.”
My experiences of that day have shaped every aspect of my life, but not in a negative way. I honor the memory of that day by living each subsequent day with deep appreciation in my heart. When I remember that day I don’t linger on images of destruction or fear, I am overcome by the humility and compassion I felt all around me. I tremble not with grief, but with awe. Remembering now feels like a renewal of hope, and hope and shame cannot coexist.