Thoughts of terror and fear for my children as a result of 9/11 (10/5/2001)
It’s been almost four weeks since the dreadful terrorist attacks of September 11th. Already, the television networks have stopped their 24 hour-a-day, 7 day-a-week coverage. Already, conversations around the water cooler, at lunch and at parties are, at least sometimes, about subjects other than the attacks. Already, people are slowly going back to their “normal” lives, albeit with heavier hearts. Even the stock market is up a bit.
And yet, the horror and, yes, fear I feel as a result of the events of that day are even stronger now then they were that day. Part of the reason, I’m sure, is a movie I just saw in which a couple’s daughter is kidnapped. At one point in the movie, the kidnapper calls the father to inform him that he has taken the girl and asks the father, “What’s your worst fear?” Bam. It hits you. If you’re a parent at least.
It’s one thing to contemplate my own injury or death; it’s quite another to even imagine these things happening to my two young children. But this is exactly what I’m now doing as a result of the attacks and having seen this damn movie.
My vision blurs with tears even as I write this. And my fingers aren’t quite squarely hitting the keys on my computer’s keyboard. Have I brought my children into a safe world? Will they ever be harmed or suffer at the hands of the world’s cowardly, hateful terrorists? Prior to September 11th, I would have wagered that I knew the answers. Now I’m not so sure.
When I close my eyes, I can see my joyful four-year-old son dancing around our living room, like a drunk kangaroo, with his hair bobbing up and down. He has a glorious smile, gaps between his teeth and all. And I can see my delightful 2 ½-year-old daughter, a self-described “lady” dressed always in pink, who insists – with no disagreement from me – that she absolutely must sit in my lap when we’re together. What a sense of peace I experience when I think about them. What a sense of joy I experience when I am with them.
That my sense of peace and joy I experience concerning my children has been tarnished is at the core of my anger at these barbarians and for what they have done. I wasn’t in New York, or Virginia or Pennsylvania. I didn’t know anyone who died or was injured. In fact, I didn’t even know someone who knew someone.
And yet, I – my sense of peace and safety – was attacked just the same.
The sanctity of my sense of security for my family – for my children in particular – has been forever shattered. And for this there is no retribution, no “getting even.”