Saturday, September 11, 2010

Today's headlines....

reflect the shock and grief still felt nine years after 9/11. There is a news title on my homepage that states, "Nation marks 9/11 anniversary with tributes of sorrow".

Numerous blog articles have all remembered the events and or feelings of that tragic day. I am like any other American who remembers exactly where she was the moment the news came through my car radio. I am like any other American who remembers the gripping chill of realization that life would never be the same again. I am like any other American who grieved for the lives lost of husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. The enormity of relationships forever impacted threatened to sweep away all responses as one astounding lament.

The days after were filled with outward and expressive and astounding displays of grief. Tears came easily to even the toughest and most stoic of individuals. In fact, tears were as evident as American flags and marquees that said, "God Bless America".

One of the things though that is unique to me about the days after is how acceptable grief and its expressions became. Simply talking with another person about the impact would cause two unaffected (meaning personally not nationally) adults to both weep. The shared sense of loss usually not present when someone dies was present on this day.

After my son died, many people said to me, "I cannot imagine what it must be like for you to have lost your son." But after 9/11, whether you had lost a son or daughter or not, we all imagined it and the horror was palpable.

Americans are not a people with healthy grieving patterns for the most part. Sure we participate in the regular rituals of funerals or memorial services and wakes. We hold visitations and life celebration parties. We distribute bookmarks and programs to mark our loved one's life. And in the South particularly, we gather at the home with a casserole, pie and paper plates to show our love through food.

Within about two weeks though, everyone moves on. Because life goes on. That is what happens. We do not hire mourners or wail in the streets. Out loud. We do not wear black for a year and drape our windows and doorways with crepe. Outwardly. We do not avoid social visits and life changes for a year. Again outwardly.

Instead, we pick up and keep moving when everyone else does, outwardly, even when inwardly the black crepe is strangling us and we'd give our left arm for a wailing mourner to express the broken heart cry we feel so strongly.

I wondered after 9/11 if Americans would feel more comfortable with grief since it became during those weeks and even months a shared connection of how much loss hurts. However, it seems that about the time the flags came down and the marquees began to advertise the next sale, so did the shared connections.

Until of course the anniversary. And then we remember anew that grief is still strong. Always strong.

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