|Jim and I on our honeymoon 6/8/81|
Wow. Here it is -- September 9th again. Twenty-two years ago, my husband, Jim, lay in a hospital bed with third degree burns over 98% of his body. I sat by his side, holding the boney gloved remains of his hand, whispering "I love you"s and softly singing to my husband of eight years. He lasted 23 hours in that condition before finally surrendering to Eternity's call at 1:00 a.m. on September 10th.
A year does not slip by without my reliving those couple of days back in 1989, recycling memories. PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) plagued me for over a decade. Nightmares and panic attacks were quite common during this time of the year. Now, 22 years later, I still experience a twinge of it from time to time. A memory will slay me and my insides will start to quiver. I've learned to roll with it, experience it, and then go on with my day. It just seems to be a better solution than to just suppress the feelings.
The grief over my loss has absolutely nothing to do with the happiness I feel with my "new" life. One does not trump the other. I loved/love both of my husbands deeply, and there is nothing wrong with that. While some may have questioned my devotion to Jim when I moved on so quickly with Bill, my heart knows the answers and that is all that matters. After all, it was my heart that was ripped to shreds on September 10, 1989.
So today, I recycle my memories. They are recycled by necessity, as there can be no new ones to create. Jim and I were given less than a decade to form a family and gather a collection of memories. Wouldn't it be a disservice to what we had not to revisit it from time to time?
As it would be a disservice to the thousands who lost their lives ten years ago on September 11th, when evil tried to destroy good ... and lost. Perhaps to the many who endured loss that day, pain overshadows the 'victory.' But the reality is that the sinewy talons that reached into our complacency and tried to inject the poison of evil into our collective soul, failed at their mission. Evil did not prevail. It simply did not.
As we recall that day of unspeakable horror 10 years ago, let us remember it with truth, recycling our memories, not repurposing them. It is important we do not let political correctness, tolerance or outright lies taint the memories we have of that bright sunny morning when evil flew across the sky and laughed in the face of God. September 11th does not belong to the vicious men who perpetrated this attack. It belongs to the heroes, both sung and unsung; it belongs to the widows and orphans; it belongs to those who died, and those who endured.
We grieve. We shudder. And ... we remember.
May God continue to bless America, and may we never forget,
To learn more about my husband's death, please read Tears in a Bottle.