One week after unbelievable tragedy. Denial. Disbelief. Fear. I find myself still struggling to understand, even though, intellectually, I know I never will. Hatred. Fanaticism. Incomprehensible that it could exist so strongly and create such a huge tear in the fabric of an entire nation in such a short time.
TV. Replaying scenes of horror over and over. I had to turn it off. Opportunists. Gas prices rising. So-called "relief workers" asking survivors and families searching for loved ones for their social security numbers. Web sites claiming to represent the Red Cross, collecting donations. Some are legitimate. Others aren't.
I find myself thinking, at various times throughout each day, of the indescribable grief and uncertainty that the friends and family of the countless victims must be feeling. Of the terror that must have gone through the minds of those airplane passengers and crew members when they realized what was happening.
I go home every night, and the thing I want most to do is call my mother, to reassure myself that my world hasn't changed forever, that I can recapture a sense of rightness. She passed away almost two years ago. I still feel the void left by her passing...the grief from the events of September 11 will linger for a long while to come.
But there's hope. People coming together. Donating money, time and blood. Messages of concern from friends and strangers around the world.
Cars, windows, people displaying a placard showing the American flag, with the words "One Nation Indivisible" below it. And this morning, a picture of the earth taken from space, with the words "One Planet Indivisible" below it. Hope.
This morning on my way to work, I saw a hearse being escorted by six policemen on motorcycles, all displaying the American flag. It brought to mind a news report from the previous evening, showing the beginning of a new life in a New York hospital. The mother said, holding her newborn up for the camera, "This is New York's future." The cycle of birth and death, as it should be.
The Canadian news, broadcast daily on C-SPAN since September 11. Last night: Children knocking on a woman's door, delivering teddy bears destined for children in New York who've lost their parents, in the hope that they can provide some small comfort. A Toronto company that makes protective booties for dogs, responding to a call from New York rescue workers and donating what was needed for the rescue dogs. Cash donation boxes at a popular Canadian chain filled to bursting with money destined for disaster relief funds. Caring. Concern. Helping.
This country will go to war, but it will not be done in haste. America's leaders are urging patience. And they're asking us not to let our fear and our rage condemn an entire people for the horrendous acts of a few. Reason.
I, like many others, will continue to struggle with the aftermath of these events, the lingering sense of helplessness, the grief, the uncertainty. The recovery will be slow, but it will come. The leaves are changing color. The air is turning cooler. The warmth of humanity is alive. Peace...eventually.
© 2001, colleen bell about
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