Imagine my shock that I wasn't completely flamed and chastised for my post, remembering September 11, 2001. I really thought I'd have at least a dozen people telling me how heartless I am for making that point, about such a tragic circumstance. One that didn't even impact me first hand.
Thank you, to those who commiserate with me - not for my loss, but for my heart which labors to make sense of these feelings. Knowing there are others who struggle with the same ugly feelings.
It doesn't help us to label some feelings "Too Ugly to Speak Of". What good does it to do categorize such things? If that's the case, then no one can speak of a miscarriage, or the death of a child, or witnessing a horrible accident. When we say that some things are too ugly, or too inconsiderate, or too uncomfortable - it dismisses the heartbreak of those who suffer with it.
It reminds me of (and this is completely random) a show NBC did with Jillian Michaels a couple years ago - Losing It with Jillian Michaels. It only lasted a season, and came on the heels of her fame with The Biggest Loser -- but I do not exaggerate when I say, if it had been the only thing Jillian Michaels had ever done in her life - it darn near makes her a saint.
In this show, JM would spend a week with a single family, helping them build a routine of exercise and healthy eating to save their lives. Not surprisingly, she delved in to find out what caused this downward spiral of bad health habits in the first place.
For one family, with the parents in their 60s, it came out that their firstborn child had been stillborn or had died shortly after birth. In those days, women were told to 'get over it' and 'move on' and the husband told never to speak of it for fear of making his wife sad. So for more than 40 years of marriage - they never spoke of the loss of their first born son. Including ever saying a word to their subsequent, living children.
And the doctors thought it best not to let the mother even hold that baby.
Imagine the misery, the pain and the hopelessness of pretending for so long that nothing ever happened.
On the program, JM encouraged them to talk about their loss. To cry about it, to grieve. To FINALLY grieve! I cried and cheered at the same time, excited that this hour of television could possibly help thousands more families to heal from a similar hurt. For that reason, I will always respect Jillian Michaels. (Oh man.. I looked and I can't find the episode - but if you're interested watch this one... amazing: Losing It With Jillian - Native Americans & Diabetes)
My point here, is that is damaging to declare some things too ugly to talk about. It doesn't help anyone.
Contrastingly, and back to 9/11 - my friend asked me to watch this documentary of The Falling Man
This documentary looks at one of the most stunning, tragic realities of the devastation and desperation of that morning. The people who jumped to their deaths from the World Trade Center towers.
A fact has been all but erased from history. Too tragic.
Talk about things too ugly to talk about.
Quoting the documentary, "Lonely, ten second journeys. A very public way of dying."
In watching the video 11 years after the fact, I feel the impact of the tragedy of all of those losses.
One man, ( at 12:50) recounts his last conversation with his wife, "She said to me, that she loved me. She said to tell the boys that I love them. I was shocked that she was saying this to me. I said, Of course I will, of course I will but it's going to be alright."
He didn't know he was wrong. Clearly, hoping against hope that all would be well.
Then as the documentary goes back to the crowds of people clinging to hope of finding their loved ones, one woman stood out. Her heartbreak spoke directly to my heart when she said, "If I don't find him I have to start all over again. It took me my entire life to find him and I don't know what I will do without him." (37:49)
That is the kind of pain I can relate to. I know, because I've spent my entire life looking for someone too.
I can imagine the agony of having finally found him - just to go out on the ashy, soot-filled streets desperately hoping to find him walking around delusional, as opposed to the reality of never seeing him again.
That woman knew the agony of waiting her whole life to find someone to love, and the knowledge that she had him for a brief moment and now he's gone.
It all leads me to imagine just how glorious that brief moment was.
I imagine that man spent his final moments thanking God for letting him know that woman.
That is what so many of us are looking for. Even if it's just a moment in the grand scheme of the universe.