Today is the eleventh anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the US by al-Qaeda. In some respects, it seems like a million years ago… after all, my son wasn’t even a year old when they occurred and he’s a middle-schooler now. But in other ways it feels like it was just yesterday: the looks and feelings of terror, of confusion, of loss, of horror.
I’ve never written about it, but I wanted to share how I coped with all of the pain of that day. I was a music therapist at a dialysis unit back then, and I spent the whole day running triage with my patients. We didn’t fully know what was happening, and there was panic and fear running rampant. We were all afraid of being bombed. They even evacuated downtown Cleveland.
After I got home we sat riveted to the news. I was so traumatized by that point that I needed to work with my hands. To quiet my mind and put all of my feelings of fear and sadness into one little quilt: a beaded pin that I would wear everyday for a month.
Stitch by stitch, bead by bead… tear by tear.
I’m going to wear my little pin again tomorrow, and remember not only the heroes that died and the heroes that responded and served bravely- I’m also going to remember and honor those of us at home who tried to calm the fears and give comfort in a time of panic.
As it turns out, part of those beams from Ground Zero have made there way to my little town, and are enshrined in a Memorial to our fallen firefighters. It’s amazing to me that part of that huge, history-altering event now peacefully stands just a few blocks away.
I share all of this with you today just to remind you that in the middle of chaos, fear, pain….there can still be creativity and coping. I hope that you all have a meaningful Patriot’s Day- and that you make something meaningful out of it.