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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It's September 10th

It's September 10th. This is what Microsoft Outlook tells me. It's what my phone tells me, and my computer. September 10.
Why am I scared?

It's beautiful in Chicago. Low 54, High 73. The sun is coming down and I'm riding through the park on the bike trail, on my way home. Nothing could be nicer. I'm not even turning on the radio. The birds are chirping, the traffic is light on the streets, only a few soccer players dot the park and middle aged walkers are owning my path.

A man is walking my way, but he's looking up at the sky. It's just the two of us, really. I follow his gaze. He's looking at a big white airplane with red markings on the wing.

The airplane is flying low. It's gone in a moment.

It's September 10th. Why am I scared?

I'm a person of faith so I'm not. I'm not scared. Although traditionally, it is a season of awe and fear for the Jewish People. So I should be scared. We believe that everyone's life, and you don't have to be Jewish here, is in balance during the High Holidays. He/She determines the future for the whole world, sorts through our thoughts and actions in the coming month, sort of like we pick through vegetables and decide on a menu.

But right now, whatever He/She has in mind is going to have to be all right. September 10 is slipping away, anyway, like any other day, and tomorrow, September 11, will, too.

I get an email from Smooth Stone who requests a link. This is well worth the read. It's a tribute to Welles Remy Crowther, a hero on September 11. His greatest ambition in life? Help others.

He's gone.

On a happier note, I just watched Randy Pausch deliver The Last Lecture on the Public Broadcasting Service, WTTW in Chicago. That's something we should all support, PBS.

You're supposed to ask, "Isn't that the guy who died of pancreatic cancer? How could there be a happy note here?"

Indeed, this vibrant, brilliant, fun-loving engineering professor isn't with us anymore. But you can watch his last lecture on YouTube. What a wonderful human being, a person who really understood what it meant to enjoy life and to live it well. And he knew it before he got sick. You have to see him to believe him.

Here's what the sidebar on YouTube tells us:

Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch (Oct. 23, 1960 - July 25, 2008) gave his last lecture at the university Sept. 18, 2007, before a packed McConomy Auditorium. In his moving presentation, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," Pausch talks about his lessons learned and gives advice to students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals. For more, visit www.cmu.edu/randyslecture.

He says he did it for his children. Something about head fakes and football.

therapydoc

8 comments:

Reas Kroicowl said...

You're scared because you live in a high profile city with wonderful, really tall buildings. I seem to recall the Sears Tower was evacuated on that fateful day.

Dare I say it may be a wee bit of post traumatic stress?

Melissa said...

Scared. I hate being scared.

Do you know, I've never felt so mentally healthy as in the aftermath of 9/11. I would ride the subway (NYC) and be in the midst of people who were all grieving in the same way, and it was so incredible. It was, in a VERY strange way, like heaven on earth. All hearts beating as one.

I must have sung at 30 funerals.

Here's a picture I drew (not of 9/11! but one I drew to try to keep from wringing my hands): http://melissa-mindsweeper.blogspot.com/2008/09/politics-makes-me-sick.html

Isle Dance said...

And you noticed an airplane...my trigger around September 11th. Well, that and the ferry boats.

I'm so sad when others are ill. If it happens to me, I could never give up on my health. No matter what. It's like giving up on life. Ugh. That depresses me.

porcini66 said...

September 11th...

I was sitting in my living room in a tranquil VT farmhouse with another mom. We were discussing the Anthropology of Food as our 2 year olds played. My husband was in the garden, pulling the last of the tomatoes when the phone rang. It was my mom, sobbing, "We've been atTACKED!, We've been ATTACKED!!" Something about Pearl Harbor made her strike the panic button.

I didn't get it until I turned on the television and saw the smoke and the flames. I didn't get it until I realized that people - real, live people - were dying as I sat in my living room watching under the idyllic blue autumn sky.

It IS an important day. And it will pass into tomorrow, just as any other.

Thanks for writing.

porcini66 said...

Oh, and I wrote to Prof. Pausch. He was an amazing man and I am inspired by him daily. He too is someone that I won't forget.

Wendy said...

I was sitting in a meeting that day in the Pentagon. The building shook like nothing I can even describe. I walked out with thousands of other employees - I didn't save anyone but myself. The huge fireball was hanging in the sky above the building when I got outside - I walked to my car in the southeast parking lot and drove home... Like nothing had happened!!!! I'm still in shock, it still hasn't hit me that I was there and I saw it and I knew many of the employees that were murdered, but it still feels like nothing happened. I sat and watched the tv for hours after getting home. I made dinner for the kids, went to bed, got up in the morning and went back to work. I refuse to look at the building when I drive into work - I turn my head the other way. I haven't seen the memorial - my co-workers went to the dedication today, I manned the phones. Shock has plagued me for a long time. I wonder when it is going to hit me - and I will finally break down and cry. But now it has been 7 years so maybe it is too late. Don't be scared. We can not live our lives in fear.
Wendy

Hokule'a Kealoha said...

I so enjoy your blog. I have been in or had family in therapy much of my life. Your insights and comments are very helpful

therapydoc said...

You're all so wonderful for sharing your stories. I really appreciate them, indeed wrote the post hoping to hear a few.

It is really amazing, isn't it, how some of us are constructed in a way that defends against intrusive thoughts, nightmares, etc. (Wendy, you come to mind here) but will probably revisit the scene (maybe) when you're older and that membrane that protects us gets a little thin.

And then there are others who struggle with the symptoms of PTSD for years (although they typically remit in one).

I was outside in my front yard with FD, the day was picture perfect, and FD came home and said, Did you hear? Our daughter and son-in-law were in school in NYC.

Until I heard from them I was a wreck. Then I continued on with the day, first stop the butcher shop, and nobody had heard (I asked around). It was 9:30.

I'm pretty sure I'll never forget it.