I finally get it, I thought. I finally understand the pain of 9-11. Staring up the wall at the sea of different shades of blue paper, one for every victim, it sinks into the deepest part of my core. It was just another day at work. They brushed their teeth the same way they did every other morning. No one knew it was their last day on Earth, with their families and problems and plans for the weekend. They didn’t have a chance to apologize for petty fights with friends and tell their parents that they meant the world to that person, even though they didn’t make it home for Christmas.
I walk past caved in police car doors and massive rods of steel that were never meant to change shape. A recording of a husband calling his wife from the second tower minutes before it was hit to tell her that he’s okay, plays over and over again. No one smiles as they gradually shift from a piece of wreckage to an interactive wall of the victims’ biographies. A couple walks into the recording booth to leave their memory of lost loved ones.
I look down at my belly and set a hand over the place that, just days before, nestled a baby, wishing I had been able to appreciate the life I created. Life is so fucking precious; it can be taken away in a matter of seconds, even if we are unaware of it’s presence.
No day shall erase you from the memory of time.
And we all know this. We’ve all been told a million and one times and experienced at least one event that really gets through to us, but it becomes so easy to get caught up in the monotony of daily routines and our petty worries. Rarely do I stop to think how precious every breath is. Every single breath is a blessing, whether we are taking the most gorgeous hike of our life, or trying not to vomit in Times Square, every one counts.
I could tell you that from now on I’m going to make the most of every day and live life to the fullest, but we’ve all been there and that feeling fades. Instead, I’m going to finally talk to my mom about our shallow relationship and hug people when there is a goodbye. I’m going to give my housemates a big, genuine smile when they walk past me on the porch. I’m going to tell my dad I love him for the first time in thirteen years. Every morning when I wake up, I’m going to put my hand over my heart, breathe in the morning, and open my door for the world to feel my love.