I've been putting off writing about this even though it is so much on my mind. I even wrote and deleted and wrote and saved several times over but never got to the end, nor to the point, of what I wanted to say.
And now, with last night's dream, I think it's better to purge it.
In a month it will be here, that dreaded anniversary. Sure, it's just another day. There will be school and work and probably grocery shopping and I think there is a PTA meeting that night. Life goes on.
I'm not afraid. It's not fear that is circling like a vulture in my brain. It's dread. I do not want to relive that feeling.
There is no way to avoid the anniversary. It will be on your tv, your radio, in your newspapers, on your blogs, written in indelible ink on the huge calendar page that seems to be hovering over us.
It's not even the feeling of that specific day, because most of those hours were spent in a state of disbelief. It's everything that followed.
I dreamed last night of the funeral service I attended for a bomb squad member killed that day. Of all the moments revolving around September 11th, even the first realization of what was happening, even the news of Pete Ganci's death, even watching the towers crumble, the service for Dan Richards will always be the most surreal moment of my life.
The combination of the bomb-sniffing dogs making sure the church was safe, the ever present helicopters, the bagpipes and the secret-service type people standing on my neighbor's porch with rifles poised on their shoulders made the day almost like a dream.
Last night I dreamed that the guns went off. The dogs were barking. The helicopters were droning in my ears and I couldn't hear a thing anyone was saying. People were running from the church, screaming and waving their hands in the air. I couldn't find my kids. I rushed into the church, into flames and rubble and body parts strewn about like candy wrappers in a movie theater. There were fingers under a pew and spilled blood on the seats and the floor was sticky with bodily fluids and tears. I thought I saw my kids at the altar, so I crawled through the wreckage to get there but when I approached I saw that it was effigies of my children, hanging from the ceiling fan of the church. A man playing Danny Boy on the bagpipes stood his ground, clouds of dust swirling around him, and then the ceiling collapsed and sunlight came through that one spot. I dropped to my knees and starting crying. The bagpipe player came and lifted me off my feet and carried me outside, where ambulances and black limousines waited to take the dead and injured away. And then I woke up.
It's all very much on my mind. How fast has this year gone? A year that has been filled with the war on terror and all of its rhetoric, a year of memorial services and digging for dead, a year of flag waving and bin Laden hunting and the stripping down of our rights, and now months of waiting for another war to be declared.
Are we worse off or better off because of the war on terror?
Are we any closer to winning this war, one year later?
Has the world really changed or have we, as people, changed?
How are you going to spend that day?
Me, I think I'll take the kids out of school on September 11th and spend the entire day in an arcade, away from television and radio and school assemblies.