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September 11, 2009

in life

last night my eldest daughter interviewed me about 9/11 for a homework assignment. she had three questions to ask:

where was i?
how did i feel?
where was she?

answering those three questions immediately brought me back to not only where i was physically, but where i was emotionally that day. and for days after.

i was one of the lucky ones. my closest connection was my sister’s college buddy who died in the towers. he wasn’t even supposed to be there. and he left behind a wife and two young kids, like so many others.

while talking to my daughter, i couldn’t convey the enormous and overwhelming feelings that rushed over me that beautiful september morning. at 10, what do you really know of fear, of death? of the willy-nilly nature of life?

immediately following 9/11, lisa belkin wrote an amazing editorial in her old column, life’s work. she wrote about her feelings and about how she knew that soon we’d all be returning to “normal” again. that we’d forget how forcefully we were speaking about changing our focus to what really matters: home, family, friends.

i ripped this piece out of the ny times and carried it with me for weeks, months, years. i read it almost weekly at first. then whenever i stumbled upon it, stuffed in my planner. now, i can’t find it.

it makes me sad to know i can’t find it. it makes me wonder if i’ve fallen into the trap she described. of returning to being a hamster in a cage, running stupidly through the same habitrail without stopping to think whether the path is bringing me someplace closer to what i believe is important.

i’m glad my daughter had that homework assignment last night. it made me think again of the article and its message. and in thinking about it, i know that i never really did forget.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

lbaehrusaa September 11, 2009 at 11:23 am

Thank you for sharing, Fran. Is this the NYT editorial to which you were referring? http://www.nytimes.com/2001/09/19/business/life


fran September 12, 2009 at 1:08 pm

lisa, that is it! thanks for taking the time to find it for me,



elcabell September 12, 2009 at 11:29 pm

The St. Petersburg Times carried the New York Times article on the bottom quarter of the front page. Appalling. There wasn’t any angle that they could come up with. I was left wondering: ‘Are they waiting for ten years? Does that make the tragedy more newsworthy?’


fran September 16, 2009 at 7:17 pm

hi el,

i think we all struggle with how to remember this date and move ahead, as we should do.

thanks for reading and commenting,


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