I'm not sure if I can get through this. I'm trying to watch 7 Days in September.
Seeing those buildings come down, the jumpers, the aftermath. It's a scene from hell.
I remember feeling so joined in fragility and tenderness to all my citizens after September 11th. When distraught like that, disconnected and in shock, the only thing to hold on to was humanity. There was a complete calm compassion that pressed me down into myself.
At the same time, I was beside myself. It took me months to get back into me. I was consumed by the disaster, wanted to know everything I could about those souls who died. I felt as though everyone needed to KNOW those people, to remember them, these people who were someone's family, killed in an unimaginable way.
I'd forgotten the blood drive, for all those people who in the end, didn't need it. But people kept giving anyway, to do something, give something of themselves. Everyone wanted to do something. I wanted to do something. I wanted to be there, to do anything.
All those hand-made stretchers for bodies that never were. Doing something.
Couldn't call my family. Didn't speak to them for a week. I didn't know how to connect. Couldn't do it. Kept falling inward, inward, inward. I remember I couldn't be around anything loud. I didn't want to hear voices. I didn't want loudness. I needed people to be careful. And quiet.
It's such a horrific event, still fresh in my mind. These documentaries are so well done, and so terrible. It's an impossible thing.
No one could orient themselves in NY, not even the birds. And I think everyone around the country had lost their bearings too. Ashley eventually had to intercede and help me find my way back also; I'm glad my best friend was there to help guide me. I went too far into the horror of it and was getting damaged. It sounds so silly now, but it's true.
In retrospect, the most important lessons were those of compassion. That spontaneous tenderness sprang up in the heart of NY. That strangers made food for strangers, brought water to those who needed it, grabbed people and held hands, cheered for rescue workers, sneaked in to fenced off areas to rescue pets, did anything they could do to support their neighbors: togetherness, community, comfort. These things were in abundance. Hope. Fear. Furious rage. Deep grief. All present, but all held together.