It's hard for me to remember where I was yesterday, but I will never forget exactly where I was thirteen years ago today. I was working in a nursing home at that time and I had my morning ritual with one of the patients: we would read the paper together, watch the news and gossip. It was my favorite part of the day and I think it was hers too. It was just another morning-until it wasn't. Until we saw the horrific footage of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center and neither of us were able to process what was happening. I will never forget the horror on her face, the tears streaming down and her continually repeating "This can't be real. This can't be real". None of us quite knew what was happening but we knew that whatever it was, we would forever be changed. And we have been. We always refer to life "before 9/11" because it was a different existence for us. We were naive. We thought that this only happened in other countries, that our safety and freedom could never be compromised at that level. We were violated, shaken to the core, horrified, terrified, humbled, profoundly devastated and affected in every single way. Last night I was talking to someone who said something that resonated with me. We were talking about 9/11 and the upcoming anniversary and he said "Remember how everyone was after? Remember how nice people were to each other?" He was right (yes this is admitted in print! lol). We had come together in a way that I had never witnessed before-we were ALL affected. Every single one of us. You would walk down the street and people were just as haunted as you were. They were scared, sad, grieving...no-one was alone. For the first time that I could remember, we all had something in common-we all lost something that day. Every single one of us. We lost that naivete' that we once had that we were safe above all else. That false sense of security that, for whatever reason, we were the country that was impenetrable. And we all came together in that, which was something truly beautiful that came out of something so truly horrific. We were all kind to each other. We had a camaraderie in all that had happened. Pettiness, bullshit, un-important crap was all put in perspective and we realized that what mattered was being kind, showing the people that we love how much we do love them, living a life that almost 3,000 Americans were so tragically robbed of that day. We were aware of how short life is and how it can be taken at any time, without warning. It shocked us into a new reality and we haven't been the same since. Terrorism is now a part of our lives. Flying was forever changed, traveling in general has been changed as well. But, the strength, the heroism, the kindness of what happened in the aftermath is something that should always be remembered and is a mindset that we should have daily. Because, if for nothing else, today should be a day that we reflect and honor every single person involved in 9-11 and try to be conscious of how we are to the people we love and to strangers alike.
Today my thoughts are with every single one of those people who lost their lives that day-and for their loved ones who have to go on without them. My thoughts are with the First Responders who so bravely rushed in while everyone was rushing out. My thoughts are with everyone who lost something that day-which is all of us. I hope that we can go back to that kindness mindset that happened after the devastation-and to that mindset that there is NOTHING in this life that should be taken for granted. If you have something to say to someone, say it before it's too late. If you've been waiting for next month, next year to do something that you can do today-do it. This life is so short and it can be taken at any given second. Honor those who lost their lives so horrendously and live a good, grateful, kind life. And never, ever forget.