Friends, it’s not like there haven’t been terrorist attacks in the last 19 years. It’s not like it’s a competition of statistics of dead or injured. It’s a day that bubbles up many things for me, and as this is my medium to share, share i shall.
Item the first: A few years after the December 6th tragedy, I had bought some flowers to lay at a memorial for the women killed at the Montreal Massacre, my mother snapped at me “Why are you doing that? Do you even visit your grandparents graves?”
“As a matter of fact, I do”.
And she looked a little chagrined and left me to it. Because what else could she say? But what if I had said that I didn’t? Did that make it wrong to mourn those women? No, it didn’t.
Item the second: I had someone trying to guilt me after I put a hockey stick, puck, and candle outside after the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, but I didn’t do anything for the people killed by the van that jumped the curb in Toronto a week later. Because how dare I feel a stronger connection to white teenagers two provinces away instead of brown folks practically next door. Thing is, I don’t entertain someone trying to tell me who it’s OK to memorialize, and who it’s not. Sorrynotsorry.
It’s nobody’s business what you mourn or celebrate or commemorate. I reflect on things that feel important to me to reflect on. That list might not be the same list that you hold on to. That’s OK. When I feel a connection to someone, or to an event, or to a date, that’s for me to work through. You don’t get a say.
I read recently a reflection that was talking about the circumstances of people in New York who survived the attack on the World Trade Center towers . One stopped in a pharmacy on his way to work because his new shoes were giving him blisters. One was running late because she spilled some breakfast on her suit, so she had to change. One got caught in traffic on the thruway. One stopped on the way out the door to answer her landline. There were likely hundreds of these stories – child who couldn’t find the note that had to go back to school that day, chatty dog walker who stopped to talk to someone before heading home and then off to work, someone who missed their train connection. The point of the piece was that these things often feel like an inconvenience, but maybe they’re putting you where you’re supposed to be.
I mean, that isn’t to say that everyone in those towers deserved to be where they were because of lack of children or dogs or reliable transportation or blisters. But after reading that, I’m going to try to think a little differently about things that feel like obstacles. Because you never know.
Be kind, friends. We’re all mourning something.
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