I’m probably a little late with this post. September 11th has come and gone once again. Still, we need to keep remembering…
Did you watch the media coverage? Were you drawn in? Or did you avoid it altogether?
My hubby said, “Why do you want to watch this stuff? I’m not sure I want to. I’m not sure I can.”
Many people probably felt that way, but I found myself once again drawn to the coverage.
There are certain historical events that take place in every person’s lifetime that leave a permanent imprint on them. I know I’m dating myself here a bit, but ones that immediately come to mind for me are the three assassinations; President Kennedy’s, Martin Luther King Jr.’s and Bobby Kennedy’s. Their deaths were so violent and so unexpected; they literally left the entire nation stunned each time it heard the news. When President Kennedy was killed the whole country stopped in its tracks for days. I was only 8 years old, but I’ll never forget the continuous television coverage and the eerily somber mood that was everywhere.
September 11th was another one of “those days;” a day when most people remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news, or at least I do. I was home after getting my youngest off to school. I watched the second plane hit the second tower as it happened. I literally watched the horror unfold. Saying it was unbelievable to watch sounds far too trite, but that’s what it was, unbelievable.
This past weekend when I watched the September 11th coverage, I wondered how people who were there that day as the horror unfolded felt. I wondered how people who lost loved ones felt when their loved ones didn’t come home that day. I wondered how exhausted those fire fighters felt at the end of that day and how many nights passed before they were able to sleep again. I wondered how people who made it out of those buildings alive felt when they saw others jumping from windows from the corners of their eyes. I wondered how all of the survivors of that entire horrendous day felt when the day mercifully ended.
I also wondered how they feel today.
Do they suffer from survivor’s guilt? Or do they choose to only focus on the gratitude?
Somehow I doubt it. I imagine every person that did survive that day has wondered more than a few times, why me? Why did I survive?
Cancer patients suffer from survivor’s guilt too.
I think it’s one of the reasons I so often hesitate to call myself a cancer survivor.
Why should I get to call myself a survivor when others cannot?
Why am I still here when others are not?
Why are some living with stage IV and I am not?
Why not me?
That’s what survivor’s guilt is about; asking the questions that have no answers.
I am by no means comparing my cancer survival to the horror of what people lived through on September 11th. I would never do that.
I’m simply asking what all survivors ask, why not me?
In a way we became a whole country of survivors that day in September. We all knew it could have happened in our city or town. We all knew it could have been us.
Cancer survivors know the same thing. It could have been us. It still could be.
As survivors of 9/11, cancer, a natural disaster, or any profound event, we need to do the same thing.
We need to remember.