When the Pain Fades
When September 11, 2001 happened, I started collecting articles and pictures from the newspaper and Internet. It was not a conscious decision, I just did it. A week later, I began organiziing my collection into a book. I 'd tried to scrapbook before, but couldn't really get into it. So when my kids saw me with papers, scissors, and scrapbook pages lying all over the kitchen table, they asked what I was doing.
"I'm putting together a book about what happened on September 11th," I said.
"Why?" they asked.
I opened my mouth to answer and nothing came out. I felt a great catch in my throat. Why was I spending so much time and energy on this?
Finally, the answer came to me. "So we don't forget what happened on that day."
Well, now my kids thought for sure that I had completely lost it.
"What do you mean, so we don't forget? How could anyone possibly forget something that horrible?" they asked.
Yes, it was inconceivable to think that people could forget 9/11. But it has happened.
I did not know anyone who died that day, nor do I know anyone who knew someone who died that day. But my heart still hurts when I hear people argue over homeland security. People say they know we could be attacked again, but I'm not sure if they really believe it. I think there is a tendency to think that 9/11 was just a fluke, and that terrorists would not -- could not! -- possibly hit us that badly again.
It surprises me how much has slipped away from my own memory of that time. But one look through my 9/11 scrapbook brings it flooding back. Not just the shock and disbelief, but the pain as well. And that, I finally realized, is why I made that book. I never, ever want to forget the pain.
Women who have been through childbirth eventually forget how much pain they endured and only remember the moment when their newborn is placed in their arms. The pain is forgotten, allowing joy to grow. Mother Nature designed this to ensure the continuance of the human race.
With 9/11, there was only pain. The pain is fading, but there is nothing to replace it with . . . and so people are forgetting.
So, how did I respond to my children when they asked how anyone could possibly forget something so horrible?
I replied, "Because it is human nature to forget horrible things so we can continue with our lives. In order for people to cope, they sometimes may even start believing that horrible things didn't really happen, that they were exaggerated or faked somehow. Some people cannot live with the knowledge that humans can be very cruel to each other, so they decide to simply believe otherwise."
I wish everyone had made a scrapbook.
© 2005, Little Lee's Hopes 'n More
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