14 years ago, the terrorists hit my country hard. They defeated us by provoking a non-proportional response that has done more damage to our economy and standing in the world, than any attack short of a full-scale nuclear war could have achieved. In addition, the attack resulted in the citizenry willingly giving up the freedoms and liberty they once enjoyed for the illusion of security and a blind allegiance to authority. The 3,000 or so innocent people who died in those attacks are a drop in the bucket when compared to the huge amounts of innocents that have been killed or had their lives effectively destroyed as a result. The terrorists knocked us harder than we could have imagined.
The US has recovered somewhat, though still continues to have its issues and bad policies. Time has helped the wounds to sting a little less, but time does not heal all wounds.
6 years ago tonight, I met Hannah for the first time. We did not get together then, but I met her. She has been gone from this world for about a month and a half. That is all. Already, time has started to take some of the sting from that wound. Maybe it is because I recognize the wound will never fully heal that I am able to move forward with my life. Maybe it is something else, but time does not heal all wounds.
I have recovered somewhat, but still continue to have my issues (although I don’t think my policies are bad).
I am doing okay. Many people don’t think so. They think because I am starting to find people attractive again, or even flirt, (something I’ve always done) that I am looking to replace Hannah.
The US started plans to rebuild on the site of the Twin Towers within days of their destruction. Granted, it took them years to get it done, but they were already planning on it right away. When they did finalize the plans, there was not a replacement for the Twin Towers. There was a single building. And I was pissed. I felt the towers should have been rebuilt in the same image, only stronger, taller, and with a giant middle-finger patterned into the sides.
Today, I understand why they did not replace the Twin Towers. They couldn’t be replaced. But, they ended up with a really cool building in the space they once occupied. A building that is beautiful in a unique and completely different way from the Twin Towers.
Hannah will never be replaced. And I am not making plans. But at the same time, if something right happens to come along that should occupy that space, shouldn’t I let it happen? Or should I leave the smoldering hole for the rest of my history?
At the new building site, there is plenty of dedicated space to remembering the people and the buildings that were lost there 14 years ago. The people didn’t just put up the Freedom Tower and not leave any room for remembrance.
And now there is this beautiful building. And a place dedicated to the memory of what was lost. But the new building stands, and adds something to New York that it never had.
So, by being open to new construction, they did not tarnish the memory of those lost.
And so it goes with how I choose to live my life right now.
Yes, I realize I just compared my personal life to one of the darkest days in the history of my country. However, because I met her on a September 11th, and because of the parallels involved, I can think of no better analogy.
No, I am not looking to replace Hannah. If the space in my heart sits empty for years, or even forever, then so be it. But if there is someone who comes along that should fill that space, without pushing out her memory, I’m going to allow something to be built.
Maybe it’ll be years, maybe months, maybe weeks, maybe never.
You weren’t in the buildings when they came down, were you? You weren’t one of the lucky ones who survived the destruction. Would you go up to a survivor of that attack or a family member who lost a loved one and tell them they are living their life wrong based on how you would do things?
No. And if you did, you wouldn’t be anyone I’d ever want to talk to.
Likewise, you weren’t in my relationship with Hannah. You weren’t in my head and my heart as I saw her perish before my very eyes, and was smacked hard in the face -again- with just how unexpectedly short this life can be. Are you honestly going to come up to me and tell me I am living my life wrong?
Well, if you do, you won’t be anyone I’ll ever want to talk to.