Sunday, September 11, 2011

Never forget ... to live

Confession: I forgot Sunday was 9/11.

OK. I didn't totally forget. I wrote a short post Friday about it, though to be fair, that post is mostly links to incredible works others have produced. I didn't forget. It's part of our identity now.

I got up this morning, though, thinking about life. And not even in a 9/11 or patriotic way, either. Just plain, happy, sunshine-on-my-face, broken-down-swingset-in-the-backyard-with-my-son, big-misshapen-blueberry-pancakes kind of happy. I think this is the right way to go.

"Never forget" always seemed a little odd to me. I know it's our way of honoring the victims and heroes of that day. I know it's about going back, at least once a year, to the day where the very worst brought our our very best. I know it means "Never become complacent," but somehow, I don't see that happening.

"Never forget" is superfluous, in a way. How could we ever forget? And it always looks like an admonition to keep the tragedy alive, to keep the deaths alive. I don't want to do that. I want to keep their lives alive.

It's not just 9/11. I don't remember the day my dad died. I never do. But I celebrate his birthday every year, in some way. I'm positive that's how he'd have wanted it.

"Remembering is all I can do," I overheard someone saying during a conversation this weekend. But, I wanted to say, it's NOT all you can do.

You're not powerless. You can make new memories. You can live more. You can love harder. And you probably are. You get credit for living. You should feel immensely empowered for that. That is doing something. It's not running away from 9/11. It's not forgetting.

I'm the very last person you want to go to for 9/11 expertise, so really, go elsewhere. But if you really want to know my opinion, I think we should add "to live" to our commemorative motto.

Never forget to live.

Maybe it's a reminder to me more than anyone. Because I sometimes do forget.

So I'm going to be sure, today and this week, to go on living. I'll post a "Monday goodies" tomorrow (someone please help me think of a better title for that feature) -- vultures. Which are all about life and beauty, despite what you may have heard. And today, I'll go back outside with my son and squeeze my oversized ass onto the undesized swing set seat once again. I'll hike and photograph and try not to get ant-bitten like yesterday. I'll help my kid bake some brownies.

I'll look east (if I can remember which direction that is) and yes, I will remember. There's a 9/11-shaped hole in my heart too. But I'll go on. Death will have the very last word, after all. I want to have as much to say on the side of life while I'm able.


Christina Wilsdon said... Best Blogger Tips

The drumbeat of 9-11 has been sounding all week, so seeing it as the theme of your Friday post did not seem surprising at all, actually. Hats off to a lovely coda to it all on this, the actual date. I have a friend who is having a picnic this evening with a friend who lost a brother in the Towers; she said her friend requested it be a totally NOT 9-11 picnic. Just food, good talk, and good friends. As you noted, just having a say while on this side of life's table.

9-11, sunsets, love, life and loss all rolled up together here on my hill on Friday night: a beautiful sunset--purple Olympic mountains fanned out against a red-orange sky, so gorgeous that as I walked the dog up the hill tears came to my eyes, because things like this make me think of my dad who passed in February; then just as I came to the top of the hill, there sat a pickup truck, with a couple gazing out at the sunset, their CD player at full volume swelling with the sound of Alexandra Burke singing "Hallelujah."

Was it poignant and cinematic and improbably uplifting, sad, and wonderful as a moment? Yes. Never forget the past, the present, and the future, I guess...

Jessica said... Best Blogger Tips

Simply beautiful post, as always...