Today is the 5 year anniversary of one of only 2 days in my life that I try my hardest to never relive. Because I was in New York City on 9/11/2001, because I walked out of the city through smoke with my brother-in-law babbling in my own form of shock and horror while those around me were silent in theirs, perhaps because I relive it every time I see the images, hear the newscasts, etc. I have spent most of each anniversary trying NOT to remmeber. I know that so many lost so much more than I did that day... For them, the ones who lost more than their sense of security and bubble of carefully preserved innocence, depending on your point of view, perhaps the remembering is healing. Perhaps it can help them bring back the memories of their loved ones.
For me, if I even smell a Dunkin' Donuts Dunkachino I am suddenly fighting back tears, choking through a ball in my throat and swallowing back nausea because it floods my mind with memories of huddling on Mom and Dad Sikora's couch for 3 days straight with my sister and her husband and our pets, glued to the search for survivors and flinching when the military planes flew close over the house there on Long Island. Walking down a city street on a brilliantly sunny day and feeling happy that Im doing so can bring back walking the last block to my office on a beautiful Tuesday before smoke and flames and death. I can't hear an ambulance or fire engine without my mind and heart freezing for a few brief seconds.
If I try to tell people who ask me about that day how it really was, I can't continue, so I brave through it with a glib tale of meeting up with my brother-in-law and walking to Queens where we met our family. I pass it off as a note of how great my friend is... the one who didn't stop to find out what was going on but simply bought a pair of tennis shoes and walked home.
It has been 5 years since that day. I still refuse to watch the documentaries, just the trailer of the movies that have been produced are enough to give me a stomach ache and bring on a flood of tears. It took me 4.5 years to be able to sit down with my husband on a Sabbath afternoon and try to look through a book of photographs taken on that day... and it took me 3 full days to be able to make it through the entire book. I had nightmares for a week afterward.
Hubband just called me on his way home from school and asked if I had seen the media coverage of the anniversary and when I said I had been avoiding it... he understood. He knew that I avoid it not because I dont care, but because I can not bear the thought of reliving it in even a minute way. So forgive me for not telling you the "whole" story, for not reliving that day over and over when asked and sharing every minute of how I felt, what I saw, what I did... Because I cannot. I will always remember those who sacrificed their lives and those who died senselessly in a rotten sneak attack by a dreadful group of people... But like the day my mother died, this day will always be a day that I live to forget. Not to remember.