Thursday, September 8, 2011
Did you ever feel like you were being tried for a crime you did not commit? Today, I decided that's my new cancer analogy. I did absolutely nothing to provoke disease here. In fact, I would go so far as to say I did my best to prevent it. Well-rounded meals, no dirty habits, no smoking or drinking (unless a glass of wine on Friday night constitutes drinking), very little coffee even. When I was pregnant with Judah, I used to hold my breath whenever a stinky truck drove by. No pollution for my child.
Every few months, I trudge into the sentencing room, waiting for some arbitrary jury to decide my fate. Will I go back to the hospital? Will there be more pills to take? More red poison to be injected? Or am I on probation? Community service?
Wait, though. I was doing community service before this all began. It don't make no sense.
Why are some of us lucky enough to get probation and some are taken away kicking and screaming? Certainly I am quite relieved that my scan results came back cancer-free. I don't want to forget to celebrate the fact that I've been NED (no evidence of disease) for a whopping 9 months now. Thankfully I am not locked in a cell. It's still a daily challenge not to fear my fate and worry there is just not enough time to do all of the things I want to do.
As you may have heard, the 10th anniversary of 9/11 is approaching. We are all (here in the States) seeing short films and reading essays poignantly reminding us of what was lost ten years ago and how things have changed. For so many of us, our innocence and trust in the safety of living in the USA was forever broken. I find it very difficult to watch the documentaries, each CB radio recording or voicemail message a piece of the past. A snippet of someone's voice never to be spoken again.
I remember that day so vividly - it was my second day of student teaching, we had just gotten unpacked and started our morning routine when another staff member came into our classroom to spell out what had happened. I wasn't proficient at spelling as a language (then) and couldn't understand what she was talking about. Too troubling to discuss in front of 30 seven year olds, she led me into her room to look on the computer at the images. I still couldn't comprehend what was happening. No one could. I lost it when I thought about my brother and friends who lived and worked near the WTC. No cell service and racing minds make a bad combination. The children were dismissed and we all ran to find our loved ones and leave Center City (Philadelphia), the home of the friggin Liberty Bell - sure to be the next target.
Dan and I fled to my parents' house in the suburbs and watched the news all afternoon and into the night, finally collapsing with exhaustion, our minds (as those of so many others) reeling. Thankful our loved ones were alive. Trying to make sense out of something that makes no sense.
This is a part of human life, I suppose, the constant need to make sense of the world around you, even when that's an impossible task. As Al Brooks pokes fun in Defending Your Life, we humans here on Earth only use 3% of our brains. Perhaps we are not meant to understand everything, we're only meant to try.
Watching these 9/11 movies and videos is traumatic for me (I can only imagine what it is like for the families of those we lost), but I force myself to watch. Partly, I think because I'm a glutton for a good cry. And, because I think it's our duty to hear these stories, to know what superhuman feats were taken on in the midst of a terrible, tragic time. If nothing else makes sense to me, it's that we are surely here to learn from and about each other, and to support those who cannot carry themselves. Since I can walk today, and I've already been carried, my job at this moment must be to watch and learn. I surely owe that much.