Friday, September 9, 2011

From dread ... to hope.

I have had this looming feeling of dread in my mind lately. I have plenty of good moments, but that dreadful feeling has been hanging around back there for the past week or so, really messing with me.

I finally figured it out.

We are approaching the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I get a little sad every year when this time comes around, but this year it seems there is a big focus on the children of 9/11. Those babies who never knew their daddies. The women who after that day were faced with getting out of bed every morning knowing their husbands would not be in the delivery room when their baby came into this world - a world I can't imagine raising children in by myself.

I was pregnant on September 11, 2001. A tad hormonal (read: emotional) anyway, and working as a journalist (read: engrossed in all the media) in our small town. I think, like so many others, I got through that day on pure adrenaline.

At the end of the day I went home to feed my toddler and my pregnant self. Alone. Steve was working out of town and we talked on the phone that night like always. Or maybe we didn't talk so much as I just listened to him and convinced myself yes, he is still there. Yes, he will be home on the weekend. Yes, we are OK.

But just the thought of so many people losing a loved one ... so many having to face the world from then on without a partner, a father, a brother or sister, a child ... it still makes my heart ache when I think about that day and the days that followed. Those emotions stayed raw every time I interviewed someone for a story related to 9/11 - firefighters who were there, a pastor who battled his way into the madness to pray with survivors, and eventually, moms and dads and wives and siblings who lost loved ones, or whose loved ones received life-changing injuries in the ensuing war.

For those reasons, I've been turning away from the coverage. I'm not avoiding the anniversary; that will be here on Sunday and I will remember in my own way. But I look at my daughter and I think how different her life would be if she had never known her father. This baby girl we wanted so badly and had almost given up on trying for ... this girl who so fiercely loves her daddy. If I think about it too much it gets hard for me to breathe.

Silly? Perhaps. Dramatic? Maybe. But that's how my mind and my heart work and I've learned to embrace it and live with it. I have also learned to cherish every second with my family, and to be thankful to God for all we have been blessed with. It doesn't mean I don't complain now and then when the kids are running wild and driving me crazy ... but at the end of the day I am forever grateful for my life and the people in it.

So how do I deal with the dreadful feeling? I pray. I share my thoughts here. I tell my friends and ask them to send positive vibes my way. And I do my best to focus on the good.

Job 11:13-20
“Yet if you devote your heart to him
   and stretch out your hands to him,
 if you put away the sin that is in your hand
   and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,
then, free of fault, you will lift up your face;
   you will stand firm and without fear
You will surely forget your trouble,
   recalling it only as waters gone by
Life will be brighter than noonday,
   and darkness will become like morning.
You will be secure, because there is hope;
   you will look about you and take your rest in safety.
You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
   and many will court your favor.
But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
   and escape will elude them;
   their hope will become a dying gasp.”