Sunday, September 11, 2016
My New Normal Day 22. Remembering.
9/11. A date I don't think we will ever forget. I remember that morning I was working as a nanny and a call came from the kid's grandmother just after the first plane hit. From that moment on, with a few trips to the phone to try to reach my sister on Andrews Airforce Base, I stayed in front of the TV.
I've noticed I have a hard time remembering things from my life pre chemo (and post chemo) without pictures. I can remember after looking at the picture the moment of the picture and sometimes a few things surrounding it. More often then not I get events and times confused. A lovely parting gift from chemo. But that day 15 years ago I remember in terrifying detail.
I can close my eyes and see the blue of the sky that day and feel the cool breeze outside the house. I can see the second plane hit live on television. I can see the buildings crumble and still feel the fear, sadness and shock. I can see the Pentagon with a giant gash in it and a burnt and scarred field in Pennsylvania. I watched the pictures go up on the fences and walls of people looking for loved ones. I panicked because I couldn't get my sister, only an hour and a half away from me in Maryland, on the phone. I dialed and only got a busy signal. Fortunately, my mom in Michigan was able to get ahold of her and make sure she was ok. I know I cried throughout the day and watched the parents of the kids I helped take care of try to explain what none of us adults could comprehend.
7 years ago, I remember sitting in my classroom in Illinois listening to the Social Studies teacher read from their book about 9/11. I couldn't believe it was already in a history book. Even today it still feels like it just happened.
Why does trauma stay with you? Why am I able to pull up the memory of where I was on 9/11 in detail and that whole day? Why can I remember in frightening detail the scary and painful moments of my diagnosis? Why can I still sometimes feel that poke of the needle going into my port that isn't there anymore? Why are the moments I want to pull into my mind in detail so hard to remember? I know a great many happy events have happened but the details and memories of so many seem to exist in a fog. Just beyond a sheer curtain that distorts it and confuses me. Why does fear break through the chemo brain but happiness is harder to recall?
Maybe this is why I take so many pictures. Those pictures help me push aside that sheer curtain clouding my memory, even if it is just for the time I'm looking at them. Then the memories are happy ones getting through. I'm not saying I want to forget about things like 9/11 and my hospital stays and treatments. All these things helped form who I am today and spur me on to continually do better and help others. I'm saying I want to work on adding happy memories to my mind. And if that means taking a thousand pictures to help me recall that moment, so be it! To all my family and friends out there...just get use to the camera capturing happy moments so I can remember them:).
And as for those sad moments that never fade, my heart and prayers go out to all the people and their loved ones fighting cancer. And my heart and prayers always go out to those who lost their lives on 9/11 and all the days since...the victims, first responders and the men and women in our military as well as all their families. You will never be forgotten. Not even chemo can take away my memory of your sacrifice.
Never forget 9/11/2001