The bittersweet gift of 9/11

All of the 9/11 remembrances and tributes on FB today and have been so heartfelt and beautiful, somber and sad, yet filled with gratitude for the emergency responders. Just like everyone else, my memories of that day are crystal clear, and just as some have written, I, too, feel sad about how America has changed since 9/11.
But I am going to share a different kind of memory from that time. I remember being gathered together with my family in the living room that evening after everyone had returned home from work and school. I remember feeling overwhelmingly grateful that we were all safe.I could literally feel with my body, as well as my heart and soul, the love we have for each other and how precious each of us was (is) to each other.

My heart was breaking for everyone who lost a parent, a child, a spouse, a lover, a friend. I could not sleep for days thinking of the enormity of the loss to so many people who never had a chance to say “Good-bye. I love you,” one last time. It seems so selfish, but I don’t think I have ever felt luckier or more blessed in my life, just knowing that each of us was safe.

Our family changed that day. We made more time for each other in the months that followed. More family dinners, more phone calls, more sense of needing and wanting to be together. Time passes and the intensity of fear, relief, needing each other’s company wanes. We begin to take each other for granted again. I don’t mean this in a “oh they don’t care about me” way. I mean that in normal day-to day life we don’t always recognize how precious our family circle is. We don’t focus, really focus, on how much we love each other.

So, today, while I remember the immense tragedy of 9/11 and while I honor those lives lost, I will also be thankful for the awareness that day of loss brought to our family. We are profoundly lucky to have each other.


About What a Heart Can Hold

I'm Jan Krause Greene - writer, peace activist and lover of the earth. I formed my opinions about life at an early age and they haven't really changed much since then - I believe war does not create lasting solutions, love will be the real revolution, and the human heart can expand until it holds love for the whole world. I have been a teacher, a newspaper columnist, a bank teller, a house cleaner, an executive director of a non-profit dedicated to education advocacy, a diversity trainer, AIDS activist, a group facilitator, and a waitress. Whatever it took to raise 5 kids and remain true to my values. I can't carry a tune, but I love to sing and don't know any steps, but I love to dance!
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