Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years

Ten years.  I remind myself that just because I say it out loud doesn't mean that it's less true.  Time seemed to stop for a long while after September 11th but in hindsight I feel like it was on fast-forward.

On September 10, 2001 I went home to my parents' house in long island after a day at school in downtown Manhattan.  I had spent the weekend with my boyfriend (now husband) and I needed to go home, pick up some things and get some homework done.  Late that night we spoke on the phone and he told me he randomly bought a spice rack and that he called his grandmother to tell her about it.  I fell in love with him a little more at that moment.  We laughed and he said he felt like a real adult because he would have one of those in his kitchen that he never cooked in.  Before we hung up we told each other how much we missed being away from each other.  When I hung up I smiled over my own silliness and I felt so happy and in love.  After the next day happened I clung on to those giddy feelings and wondered if it had been a dream that just the day before I had been so happy and comfortable and that laughing was so easy.  I held tight to the idea that a small thing like a spice rack could mean so much.

Many years ago my husband's grandmother gave me a beautiful photo of she and I together -- today we have the picture on a bookshelf in our dining room.  She died earlier this year and last night while we had dinner we looked at her picture, with her hands resting on my shoulders, and he smiled and reminded me about the spice rack and how he had talked to her ten years ago on the night before September 11th.  That spice rack is packed away in a box along with the countless other things that I cannot seem to get rid of.  After we moved we just didn't have room for it anymore but I remember putting it in the "save" pile because I couldn't bear to give it away or worse, throw it out.

I think about all of the things that have happened in the last ten years.  A million little "spice rack" moments that make up a life and then huge, life-altering events like getting married, traveling the world, becoming a lawyer, becoming a photographer, being an aunt to a hilarious nephew and three delicious nieces, miraculously becoming pregnant and giving birth to my daughter.  And I feel so lucky.  So many people who died that day and who will never have these moments to experience and cherish.  My life is rich and full and I feel lucky and on a day like today, and some other days too, I feel guilty.  Or maybe not so much full guilt anymore because I've learned that it's just not healthy to carry that around all the time, but I do feel sad.  Sadness is something that stays with me.  And I've worked hard at channeling that sadness into remembering good things and not just horrific ones.  My friend, a person who I grew up with and who I loved and valued, was killed on that day.  I miss him.  So much.  I find myself thinking about him at all the expected times like when I pass by his old building in Soho, his birthday or the anniversary of 9/11 and a million little random "spice rack" times like when I hear a certain song or when I go to the store and see Tums for sale behind the counter.  I miss just knowing that he is in this world even if he wasn't always in mine because in life people can grow apart and then they can come together again and it was like they never left.

Ten years.  My husband and I talked about moving downtown for a while.  My sister, brother-in-law, the girls and the dogs (because let's face it, my sister's dogs are my four-legged nephew and niece) have been here for a few years and they love it.  After we had the baby I just wanted to be even closer to them and a cab ride would not do.  We love living in the city and downtown is such a wonderful community for raising a family.  We felt nervous about living here especially since my husband worked across the street from the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 and witnessed the events and I went to school just nine blocks north but wasn't there that morning but we have fallen in love with it.  I pass by the construction site and memorial site on a daily basis and where I would always feel heaviness and sorrow now I also feel a sense of hope.  The building, and with it hopes and dreams, are rising and I have this sense that we are all moving forward with this enormous part of our past sitting on our shoulder.  For me it lives in my mind's eye and in my heart.  It is there now and it will always be there.  I'm not really any closer to understanding that day but I do feel closer to understanding and wanting a peace that lives inside of us and moving forward even when it seems like it is impossible. 

Here is another post that I wrote about September 11, 2001.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman


Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
People watching the progress from the World Financial Center.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman
People watching the progress from the World Financial Center.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman 

People watching the progress from the World Financial Center.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman



People watching the progress from the World Financial Center.

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman

Copyright Monica L. Shulman


All photos taken by me between March and September, 2011.