I didn't post anything special about the anniversary of two attacks on America this past Wednesday (9/11/01 and 9/11/12) because I think that we all have our own thoughts and memories and emotions, and to be honest it was too emotional a day for me to be delving into it. I'm not going to go into the politics or the religion of the attacks. The war that these attacks were a part of is centuries old and while I have my opinions about it, this is not the place for them. What I will talk about, however, is the experience of being touched by death, especially in unexpected and sudden circumstances.
Most of us can understand this because we've experienced it. Whether it is the sudden horrendous shock of watching on television as thousands of people are massacred, or the surreal experience of having a loved one die as you are trying to save them, it is a thing that changes us and changes our world... and no matter how many people have experienced the same thing, nobody can know exactly how we feel. We aren't the same person that we were before, nor will we ever be. Indeed, whether it involves three thousand strangers or one loved one, our world is changed. It is as if a traumatic bookmark has been placed in the volume of our life. Old pages have not been ripped out, but the turning point... the critical page has been folded and mutilated beyond recognition, and the binding bent and cracked at that point. The book will never be the same. It will never be new again. Never pristine.
In one of my more creative moments this week, I wrote something on my Facebook author page. It may seem somewhat morbid. If so, please forgive me. "An old death is a beast in a forgotten corner, waiting to be noticed."
That beast will never go away. That corner is part of our life... part of our soul, and the beast will live there forever, like any traumatic incident. All we can do is live our lives in recognition of the beast and the corner. We can't deny it, we can't get rid of it. All we can do is establish a peace with it so we can move on and make the most of the gift that is our life. It might help to remember that while others can't know exactly how you feel, most have experienced the same thing. Darkness can be easier to take if you don't go it alone. And it is also important to remember that even if a loved one is gone, you are not. You have a life and a destiny and gifts to give to the world. In my case, I have chosen to honor my late wife by getting my personal house in order and by making regular donations to good, reputable causes. It is my way of turning a negative into a positive. It is a way to embrace life in the face of death.