Finding Hope through Disaster – A 9/11 Tribute

Finding Hope through Disaster - A 9/11 Tribute

This past Sunday was a quiet day. It seems as though the entire country was reflecting. The news all weekend was leading up to 9/11. I seriously couldn’t flip through the Internet or TV without being bombarded with news stores, TLC or Lifetime movies about 9/11 or an update on our military abroad.

10 years ago, I was sitting in my 7th grade math class without a care in the world. I remember when our teacher told us about the planes crashing the World Trade Center towers I was very confused.

Why?

Who?

What?

My tiny bubble of a life didn’t have problems, or death, or sadness. Luckily, I wasn’t directly affected by the disasters. No one in my family died, my uncle who lived in NYC was safe and sound, I wasn’t feeling the pain like others.

10 years ago, over 3000 people were killed for NO reason. Innocent people. It breaks my heart to think about it. Our country has lost so much, yet one thing remained. Hope. George W. Bush said in the weeks after the 9/11 attacks: “We will not tire, we will not falter and we will not fail.” — George W. Bush. This post is not going to be focused on 9/11 and everything we lost, but instead, how millions of people have moved forward with their lives through this disaster.

The beautiful Lisa explained it perfectly in her blog post yesterday:

If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.’ It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’

9/11 was a huge and tragic hit on our country and individuals. Buildings can be fixed. Fields can be grown in again. Fires can be tamed. What our country’s leadership wasn’t able to fix was the thousands of fathers, mothers, children, sisters, brothers, best friends – that were all taken from us ten years ago. Sadly, 9/11 won’t be the only time something bad happens in our lives. Devastating times do happen – and what’s important is to know how to find peace and hope throughout these difficult, terrible times.

A little over five years ago, I lost one of my best friends. My world was shattered. This little bubble I lived in earlier was once again cracked. I’ll share my personal blog post that I wrote on the five year anniversary of Jeff’s death:

For a long time, the way I dealt with my pain and numbness from the loss of a close friend was just to sleep. To block out everyone; everything. Rather than showcase my emotions or even talk about them, I would attempt to be my normal, perky, upbeat self in public and would just crash. I would remove myself from reality and escape into sleep. So many other people were struggling and suffering from the loss and everyone handled their pain in different ways.

I am no expert on death and grieving. I’m in no way, shape or form a counselor – but I do know what pain looks like and feels like. Let me tell you, it sucks. Whether you faced a death in your life on 9/11 or at another time, you know how difficult is can be to remain positive. What’s vital is to not look back in sadness. Keep reading:

The main shift in my life –on an emotional, mental, spiritual and physical level-is that rather than be ruled by feelings of sadness and depression, I’m choosing to fill myself with peace. I don’t think you can “get over” a death or completely “heal” from the sadness, but what you can do is grow from the experience. What you can do is channel those sad feelings into a productive life change. What you can do is appreciate the moment you are in with the people you are with because life is short.

Our country can’t change what happened on 9/11. We can’t bring the 3000+ people back to life. We can’t fix the brokenness and the pain – but what we can do as individuals is choose to rise above. To live life in peace and with hope that things will be better. Things will GET better.

This year on 9/11, I saw a tweet worth sharing that spoke to my heart (see below). I apologize to each and every one of you that have dealt with death head on. I feel your pain. Disasters and storms of life may seem difficult to dig out of, but there is hope. It’s important to not look back on these struggles in sadness, but in peace. Pause to remember the difficult times in life, the trials, the disasters – and move forward living life to the absolute fullest.

Get out there in live life.

Love, Andi

Twitter memory

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  • In some ways my son and I were lucky because I had made the decision after my divorce not to have cable television in our new home, so when 9/11 came down I was able to shield him from the media frenzy and images that ensued after that horrible day.

    We were sheltered in our little cottage place with flowers and paintings of flowers reading bedtime stories about frogs that talk and counting the glued stars on his ceiling. The greatest gift I ever gave him was sheltering him from 9/11. I still cry when I see the images from that day.

    Now, 10 years later with my son a 16-yer-old, we watched the Discovery channel special on the re-building of tower one, the Women of Ground Zero special and a special on PBS questioning where God was in this tragedy.

    We had long discussions after each special. I feel so lucky that we have the life that we enjoy. I think this every single day when I drop off to sleep — no matter what has happened in my day — nothing will ever compare to that.

    Lovely post.

    Cath