Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Through our greatest trials we discover ourselves

I chose to believe that evil cannot simply beget evil

I originally wrote this as a 'facebook note' on the tenth anniversary of 9/11. With very minor editing I am re-posting it here because the thoughts, feelings and sentiments remain the same. 

We all have the images of that horrible day ingrained in our memories, thus I have chosen not to provide pictures or links. 

Instead, all I ask of you is to please open your mind to your own memories and feelings of that time and perhaps you will discover how your own life has changed for the better. 

Perhaps even discover your own awakening. 

Good triumphs

I invite you to join me on the  journey back through my personal awakening and discovery brought about by the horrors of that time. 



As a Canadian, despite Empire Loyalist  heritage (or maybe because of it!), I grew up with a sibling rivalry sort of view of the United States. It is ironic that the defining moment of modern U.S. Society was also my own.

On that fateful day, September 11th, 2001, I was ( and proudly still am) a mom to 3 wonderful boys- 2 of whom have autism. Eric at the time was classified as severe.  Eric was "a runner", he did not understand danger and would climb out 2nd story windows at 2am, or dart out into the street with no warning.You needed a key to get OUT of my home. I averaged 2 hours sleep per night (in total- never straight through), because of Eric's safety and behavioural issues. Life was stressful to say the least. 
I also had the good fortune (read that with sarcasm) to be in an extremely abusive marriage. Unfortunately, the abuse was the only acknowledgement from my spouse that I or our children even existed. If he wasn't out running around to 'escape the challenges of having an autistic kid', then he was home punishing us for his failings. It wasn't a happy home. My husband told me daily that if I ever left him, he'd see that the boys were taken away from me. My children's challenges were so great, and they needed so much care, that I focused on them and forced myself to ignore the horror of my marriage. I stayed.  I was strong for my boys then, but I had no strength left over for me.

Then the first plane hit the first tower. 

My sister Cheri called and told me to turn on the news. I kept thinking I had the wrong channel- thought I was tuning in to a Die Hard movie or something. It took a few minutes to realize this was real. As fate would have it, at that exact moment, the moment I switched from denial to acceptance, the second plane hit. 

My world collapsed. 

A second plane meant there was intent-this was not some horrible aviation accident. 
Anger and hatred had caused so many deaths over the years. My father, a World War 2 vet, had made sure we all knew the penalty humanity paid for hatred and tried to instill in us the power of love. Yet as I watched the World Trade Center collapse the anger and hatred that was in my own home became more poignant. I watched the world's anger amplify over the following weeks and months- harming the innocent in retribution for the evil of others, and I felt my own world collapse again. How could I escape my own horror, when the world could not escape hers. 
Soon after, Mr Dressup, Ernie Combes- a kind, gentle character on TV from my childhood, died. So trivial to some- but to me all the love and innocence in the world had died. 

I collapsed. 

Depression, that had taken hold long before, began to strangle me. I ended up in the hospital. The first real break I ever had from the stress that started from the moment I walked down the aisle. For the first time, I was looking from the outside in.

Something wonderful happens when you collapse- just as happened to America after 9/11.

You re-build.

I grew, I discovered strength I didn't know I had. I discovered resiliency, and HOPE. I escaped the horror with my children, moved on, grew emotionally, intellectually. My childrens' development soared to the point that Eric, the 'runner', now routinely takes walks to see what the neighbours are up too. My children and I have learned to find the good in even the most dire circumstance. Our bond is unshakeable. My world was shattered down to its foundation, but that foundation STOOD and allowed me to build a new, and better life. For myself AND for my children.

I enjoy life. 

I still trust too easily, I won't give that up. Its an integral part of me. But I am no longer the victim. I stand up for myself, fight back, or when more appropriate, walk away, when before I would cower or live in denial. I rebuilt and discovered the me that had always been there. Yes my boys and I live a challenging life. But we are happy. I now have a beautiful granddaughter, a wonderful man in my life, my boys are thriving, and the marvelous journey continues. It is a journey I am proud of, and look forward to, instead of dreading.

Now, please, Share your stories of triumph

I do not want to suggest in anyway that my children and I experienced anything at all resembling those who suffered 9/11 first hand- at the towers, the pentagon, in the air, or in the hate of the aftermath. I do however realize that my world changed, and though difficult to foresee at the time, truly for the better, in the aftermath of 9/11. As we approach the 10th anniversary, I must believe I am not the only person on this earth who found a better life, a better ME, after 9/11.  Please, share your stories of 9/11 triumph.

Evil cannot just beget evil. 

Good triumphs.

1 comment:

Francine Hailman said...

Wonderful story...thanks for sharing.