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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

Walking Through Hard Days

Today is a hard day. I was in DC on this day 20 years ago. My friend Karl and I had our talk as we always do on this day every year since. We were both there. Him in the Capitol, me on the same Hill as him but not at ground zero. I woke today thinking about how much both our lives would have been different if the plane headed towards the Capitol would have hit its target instead of crashing into a field in Pennsylvania. Karl would likely not still be with us. And my life would have been much more grossly impacted forever.

Instead I feel what I feel every year on this day. An overwhelming sadness and something like guilt even though it isn’t the right word. I feel sad and lost and scared and grateful and shocked. Shocked that anyone could ever think to do this to anyone. Shocked at man’s gross inhumanity to man. This day always causes me to feel all the feelings and relive my life on this day. Impacted but trauma adjacent. I feel lucky and a little undeserving. I have asked the “why not me” a million times and I always come up with the same answer: “Fuck if I know.”

It isn’t ours to know. When it is our time. When it is someone else’s time. It is just that the time is thrust upon us all when the time runs out. So much time ran out today...

The massive loss that occurred on today is made worse for me as today was my dear friend Alan’s birthday and he is no longer with us to celebrate...he died last year shortly after his birthday. And I have been missing him greatly lately. I see his face when I close my eyes and hear his voice when it is quiet. It is a good remembering even though I also feel sad.

Grief I guess is what I feel most on this day. Pervasive and almost all encompassing grief. For myself, for others, for the country, for the people who hated us so much that they were willing to die in a horrific tragic ending to show how grand and hot the hatred burned. It makes me so amazingly sad. All of it. All of the loss, the pain, the grief, the hardship, the families torn apart, the trauma that is theirs for the rest of their lives, the horrific scars and patterns long lived after the fires ended and the rumble cleared. They are not the same. How could they be? Everything changed. And I know that trauma lasts and the body always keeps the score. That I know so even though life has marched on for all of us who remain, the trauma persists.

So today I do what I can. I pray for recovery and healing for all of us, those who rained down hate and those that were their victims. I pray for the country I live in to be healed from its current violence and rage. I pray for all of us, everywhere. In Alan’s honor, I hold a good thought for humanity when everything in me wants to just scrap it. Humanity, all of it.

So I will walk through this day intermittent in my grief. Grateful for the life I have to enjoy even when my insides are less than comfortable places to live with today. I move forward in my life in honor of all of those who no longer can move forward in theirs.

I took a long walk in the woods with my dog this morning. I thought of loves lost, lives shattered, trauma inflicted and trauma healed. I thought about where we are as humans. What we are losing and all we think we gain. It is a crazy world, but I guess it has always been. I do not like it right now. I am sad. I miss my friend. I miss the time before 9-11 when I was able to still believe that I was safe in this world. I miss the delusion of safety I carried before our world was blown apart quite literally. I walked to honor those whose lives were cut short and to try to make sense out of shit that is truly senseless. I landed on my bench in the woods, sitting and watching the world that I prefer go by in slow motion. A few bikers and runners but mostly I watched a hawk hunt, my dog nap, my self gaze upwards to the heavens and pray to a God that I do believe in for the world to come around to see that life is the most precious gift and we should allow each being here to find its life’s purpose and perhaps, maybe, we could all just stop making hate a life’s purpose.

To all those whose lives forever changed today, I send love and light. I hold a good thought for humanity even as I am reminded about just how awful humans can and will be. I am going to hold a space open for something good no matter what evidence I have to the contrary. I will refuse on this day to leave my path towards living loving kindness. I walked my path today with Alan on my mind and in my heart. And that lifted my spirits even as they lagged. I banished any trace of hatred that lingered in my heart towards anyone. I talked to cows, my dog and my God praying one more time for all beings to be relieved of suffering and the causes of their suffering. I prayed that I might be useful to those I meet on their path toward healing. I prayed that no matter how hard, I pledged to continue walking a loving path, even on hard days like this.

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