Life's Tool Box – A Guide for Parents and Educators

September 13, 2012

Blue Skies and 9-11

Filed under: Tools for Life Posts — by Life's Toolbox @ 1:52 pm
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      It was the sky that got to me.  I had been entering appointments and meetings for September 11th into my calendar for weeks, and felt a small uneasiness at treating it like just another work day.  On the 10th, I had an unusually hard time focusing and getting down to work.  when the evening news previewed the memorial planned for Tuesday am, I thought maybe that was it.

I count myself remarkably fortunate that I did not lose anyone close to me in the terribel attackes.  I don’t know if it was the months of work afterwards, with first responders, surviviors and families, or if it is simply that living through sucah a trauma and sea change that follows makes anniversaries so impactful.  It is always a day of mixed and powerful emotions, sadness, pride, fear, worry, and even hope.  some years I feel a need to watch the memorial, some years i find myself desparately avoiding the coverage.  For some reason, this year, although I was pleased that the memorial would be simple and un-political, with family members reading names, I did not want to watch.

Then there was the sky.  I drove to my office, across a bridge with a view of the Manhattan skyline, under the blue, cloud brushed sky that one only gets on a crisp September day.  I found myself remembering where I was, thinking of what the eveining of the 11th was like, seeing my children after they came home from school and having to explain the inexplainable.  Yesterday, I remembered the smell that reached all the way to the outer boroughs, and I remembered how hard it was to go to sleep that night, knowing the world was forever changed.

Our trauma brain is a primitive one.  it is not always rationale and ordered.  It engages at times we least expect it, based on sights, sounds, sensations, transporting us back to times of great distress.  Yesterday, I had a new appreciation for the children and families I have worked with who have lived through trauma and loss, and even with great resilience and recovery, can be surprised by what will cause set-backs,  or cause memories to resurface they would prefer to avoid.

What does this apppreciation for trauma’s enduring and unpredictable presence in our lives change?  Nothing really.  I spent alot of time on the 11th looking at the sky and thinking about what makes it possible to move through trauma.  In my personal hard times, small acts of kindness and humanity are what has made a huge difference.  So as I walked to my office, I smiled and said my nicest good morning to those I passed.  I held the door for someone juggling packages.  I took a few extra minuts on the phone with a friend in need.  And I drove home, again over a bridge, again with a glorious view of the skyline, still seeming unbalanced without the twin towers, but graced by the freedom tower, trusting there will be other blue skies, and thankfully, always, all the human kindnesses we can each give and receive, as well.




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