This is crossposted from my blog and journal, it was suggested that this may be interesting/appropriate to the community. So here goes!
There are certain aspects of Quakerism that I work on interpreting and embracing. One is the low- or no-key way holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, and the like are handled. No one day is more important, special, or holy than another. God should be honored all the time. You love your spouse even on days you did not marry your spouse. Things like that.
So today, I am not observing the loss of life years ago, any more than I do any other day. The people that died that day were loved every day. They are missed each day too. Saving up for a loss, on just special days, doesn’t acknowledge those holes that happen during the rest of the year. When you miss breakfast on Sundays. Skiing in the winter. The way they said goodnight. The loss was a tragic loss no matter when they died. Loss hurts, missing someone hurts. It is a wound on any day afterwards, and on any day you suffered the loss of a loved one.
People who died on the tenth, or the twelfth, from whatever cause are missed. Sudden ones are jarring, especially the young for so many. But as time goes on, it’s simply a void in your heart and your life. Way of death doesn’t change that. The lack of closure would be especially hard, but I think it is important for those who did not get closure (from any loss) to seek it out. Honor the memory and not the loss. Have their memories fill that void, ease that pain, soothe that heartache.
I also do not mourn the loss of buildings, ‘way of life’ as a whole (although of course my beliefs do feel strongly about how things are and should be), planes. They’re symbols for a tragic event. And it isn’t as if there is no sacred ground; rather, all ground is sacred. All ground is reverent. To me, if I were to think of sacred spaces to remind me of loved ones, places like the beach, the ocean, certain parks and the like would come to mind. Now, I understand the loss, in that I did feel like so many memories (I worked there for some time) just went away. I remember how hard it was to look in that direction for the longest time. I do understand it, but actively work to remember they were buildings. Buildings filled with people, and that’s what matters the most. What is or isn’t built there does not matter. The subways those people rode, the homes they lived in, the places they hung out were all parts of their lives and important. There is more to them than their deaths.
And it’s been reduced to that, hasn’t it? Some do miss people, but mostly it’s been an exercise in how many times you can say “never forget” (co-opted from Holocaust survivors), cover yourself in a flag, and beat your breast? And just once a year? When will it become a day of sales at department stores, and a day off from school? Will people have cookouts and decorate their homes? Will there be parades? Maybe a “very special episode” of your favorite TV show?
It’s losing meaning without effort, but not in the way I am trying. I am trying to put the day aside by making the days around it matter, by making every day important and holy. The other way of doing it is by making the day meaningless and mundane by focusing on the decorations, the buildings, the grounds, the politics, the religion, the spin. If you do observe it, which I respect and understand and may again one day, then it should be for the people lost in such a heartbreakingly tragic way. Including those first responders and rescuers and workers who are dying NOW because of it.
I have my own personal heartaches because of this day, and I found for me that setting it aside and going ahead is the only way to have light come of it. It was a dark and bleak and evil day. Bringing light to it is healing, to me. Making it positive, and doing positive works and thoughts will fight that darkness.
I do hold everyone hurting today in the light. I do that every day I can. It’s my part to eliminate all that is bad, wicked, evil, painful in the world. Bringing about good to get rid of the bad. The healthiest way to heal us all.