Sunday, September 11, 2011

Love Lies Bleeding

Love Lies Bleeding.
It's one of my most favorite plants to grow. The cascade of a deep red wave, thicker at the stem, that grows smaller and almost wispy as it trails to a sad end, like a tear slowly finding it's way down a face.
This year, I planted about twenty of them, and on this day, they are fittingly at their peak.
 It was windy out here today, and when I stuck my head out the door this morning, I was bombarded with the collective heartache it carried with it, clutched in it's grip, as if it was wildly dropping by each household to bring with it a sorrow, so no one would have to endure this day alone. As if saying if we all hurt together it may somehow lighten the load for those loves lost. At least that's how my mind likes to think. Can I please, please lighten the load you carry? I would love to help.
 I can try to put myself in the shoes of families that have lost a loved one in the attacks or wonder about the brave souls that rushed in as the rest rushed out, but my heart stops me there, because truly, their stories are beyond us to pretend to know what it feels like, and no matter how much I hurt for them, it will never compare with the hurt those families have to live with every day. We can only pray hard and care deeply for them and wish that September 11th was just another sunny day. But it wasn't.
Before we turned on the news this morning, we chose to tell Grace about it. She is six now, and maybe it wasn't the right decision, but we felt a need to have her learn about it from us, and answer any questions she might have. Censoring the coverage a bit, luckily we hit a station that was more focused on the strength of our nation since the attack, and the stories of courage, rather than replaying the nightmare images that had been permanently etched in our brains in the days that followed the attack. On that day ten years ago, I was five and a half months pregnant with Vanessa, terrified, wondering what kind of world I was bringing my baby into. That day had turned reality upside down, and the ground I walked on became a falsehood, and as the sun set that day in a unnervingly quiet sky, the sunset glowed an ominous color, a warning, that this was a dividing day. There will be a before, and an after, and today was the division.
 A couple days later, we found out Vanessa (in utero) had a cyst in her brain which my OB/GYN casually mentioned to us at our doctors appointment. She promised me up and down that it was nothing to be concerned about and that she was just telling us only because she didn't want us to see it on paperwork later and wonder what it was. If she had done her job properly and had any sense between her ears at all, things may have ended up very differently for our little family, and Vanessa could very well have been alive today. I cried in the car, even though I had no more room for sadness in my heart, as the days that followed the attack, I heavily mourned.  We all remember how that felt. The shock. The disbelief. The "what do we do now?'", the "how can we help?", The pain. It was a lot and it felt more than I could bear that day, and the new news I had just learned was enough to make my heels slip off the cliff and land in a pool of defeated devastation. It was a Friday, three days after the attacks, and as we headed down I-5 there was to be a moment of silence. I will never forget those seconds as dozens and dozens of cars slowed, and pulled off to the shoulder to a standstill. Not one car sped by. Everything stopped as the freeway went silent, only the drone of car radios that told people to quit what they were doing and stop to remember, and the whipping of a large American flag that was being held by a handful of people on the overpass above us was heard . It was a very surreal moment. I was still crying, for the people of September 11th, for my baby who I felt in my heart had something wrong, but no one would listen and told me "no, everything is OK, I promise.." , I cried out of fear, confusion, depression, and just because that was what my body wanted me to do, and do it well, I did. That week ended with our final house inspection failing, which meant we could not move into the new house we had been building over the past year.  It was a rough week, but nothing, nothing compared to the pain and heartache that was being felt, beating limply in the chests of the thousands of devastated people.

Grace was quiet as she watched, and didn't ask any questions except this: "Mom. What would you do to those bad men who were in those planes? What do you wish for them? I would take a sword and cut them in their insides.", she said. I thought long and hard on this one, and didn't dare spew to her what my deep dark inside wanted to do to them. Instead I let the light inside speak and said, " Well...I suppose I would wish for the hate in their hearts to turn into kindness, and that they had never, ever felt the need to hurt anyone....."   She was pleased with this answer, but was still talking about her sword and I quietly smiled.

The sun spilled through the living room and tears started to fall. It was time to get out of the house. Beach. Dog. Kid. Husband. = a good escape for a melancholy day. I checked the tides for KVI and sure enough, we were just going to make it to the spit. I also hurriedly checked facebook, and what? Orcas between the Island and Fauntleroy ferry dock? Wouldn't that be cool...I haven't seen wild Orcas for at least ten years.

We were there but ten minutes, and there they were. It was just us and another Island family I barely know, witnessing a rare beauty on this sunny September 11th.

 Something about seeing majestic animals in their own element, reminding me that once again, simple pleasures, being with the ones you love, loving back with all your being, respecting, being kind, being grateful, being humble, being generous, is key. It is changing yourself for the better that sets into motion a change that can be the biggest asset against the anger and sorrow that can eat away at your soul. I used to hate it when people told me to "Make good out of your sorrow. Turn it into something positive." I wanted to shove a pie in their faces among other things.  Now, nine years later, my brain is starting to let that sentiment saturate instead of flicking it off like an annoying fly. Turn sorrow. Something good. Hmmm...sounds hard... I should do I?...Hmmm...This could quite possibly be going through so many heads right now. It is swishing in my head and I feel closer than ever to an answer. I will let you know when I find it, but until then please, if you can, give me any insight.
 Love those close to you. Hold your family tighter today. Actually, everyday. Remembering heartache may seem like a burden, but somehow it keeps us close to our loved ones. I don't understand it, but sometimes the path to healing is navigating through, and allowing yourself to freely feel the hurt.

Remembering, on this September the 11th. We promise to forever remember you, and the families that hold you so dear. To be reminded of the sacrifices, the strength it takes to move forward, and the courageous men and women of that day. We will never, never forget you.


  1. You are so beautiful, Marla. Here I am, tears in my eyes, in awe that you still have enough to give. Thank you for your words. Thank you for being you.