Memories of Those I Never Knew

I see the trailer for Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close…the papers floating down from the sky. I stop breathing for a second. That has always been one of my clearest memories from that day…the papers floating down, and then the things that were falling much faster. What were they? The realization. No…who were they? They were people. One of my clearest memories from that day.

I didn’t lose anyone that day. At least not anyone I ever met. But those people have stayed with me. And I wonder who did lose them. I wonder who is out there missing them. I still haven’t been there. I view it from afar, but I haven’t been able to go there. I walk within blocks of it, but I never go there.

I remember shortly after that day, someone I know who was visiting NYC went there and took pictures. They were showing them to a group of us. I was actually angry. I left the room. Didn’t they know what happened there? People died. I saw them. It didn’t seem right. Not so soon.

Why haven’t I been there? Maybe because of that initial reaction to someone going there and gawking, as I saw it. Maybe some of that feeling still lingers. But I think it’s also because I have never felt like I have a place there. I did not suffer a personal loss that day. But it did change me in a way that is different than people who weren’t there and didn’t see the things that I did. So it is more to me than it is to a random tourist, but I also don’t feel I have the right to mourn there like the families who suffered unimaginable losses that day. I have never known exactly where my place is there.

I do carry some ghosts from that day with me, but I don’t know who they are. I see a falling person and I try to imagine who they left that morning. I see a firefighter headed downtown on a truck as I escaped and walked uptown. I wonder if he made it home to his family that day. I didn’t know them and yet they have become a part of my memories. Memories of people I didn’t know. Memories of people who belonged to others and who are missed painfully by others. Memories that have always felt awkward because they are so personal and emotional yet seem insignificant when I think of those who lost so much that day. Even writing about them now, as the image of the floating papers hits me, feels awkward.

Maybe someday I’ll go back there. I guess it has all always seemed both loud enough and close enough from here. But maybe it will help me own my memories. My memories of strangers. Memories of people I never met but I mourn for. Memories that belong to me of people who didn’t.


About spicysugarblog

I’m a mom. And you can’t take the rest of me without taking the mom part. You can’t love the fun-loving, football-watching, martini-drinking, hip-shaking, sarcastic girl in me without also loving the mom. I will spend my days loving my kids, trying to read to them twice a day, doing all the activities they love that drive adults crazy, taking them to the irritating kid-play places, going out of my way to make sure I am making the best and healthiest choices for them in every way I can, and generally doing what I can to make them happy whatever it takes. On the other hand…I will also put on my mini-dress and heels and go out dancing, or wear my bikini to lay by the pool and have a cocktail, or avidly watch football on Sunday while drinking beer, downing wings and yelling at the TV. I’m not the typical mom. I’m also not the typical stiletto-wearing girl in the club, bikini-clad girl on the beach, or jersey-wearing girl in the sports bar. But it's all part of the package that makes me…me. And what fun is being typical? View all posts by spicysugarblog

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