The day the earth stood still

by Andrea Elizabeth

I don’t want to give credit where credit isn’t due, but when I think of 9/11/01, I find that a sort of cryogenic process happened in my mind for whatever reasons. Everyone can remember where they were when this and other national tragedies occurred. The fact that I still feel in those same circumstances as 9/11 puzzles me. I was at home with my 6 kids. My youngest was 8 months old, and I haven’t had any more children since then. I’m still in the same home, though three of those kids don’t live here anymore, but they still do in my mind. I also remember two phone calls from that morning. My mother telling me to turn on the TV, and later walking into the living room to find the boys on the phone with their other mother. I am still haunted by the same feeling about both of those phone calls, and not because of what happened to the victims of 9/11.

We had our then new house re-appraised the other day. The guy included in his assessment, “for a house of that age”. What, it’s not new anymore? Our above ground swimming pool was new that year too. We had to replace the filter this summer and the lady said, “I haven’t seen one of those in years!” Wow.

Matt Lauer interviewed a few of the 9/11 victims’ children today, and I felt that they had a few things going for them. One, a nationally recognized and legitimized tragedy to explain their loss, what I believe to be the intercessions of their departed parents, and closure provided in part by Ben Laden’s death. Divorce is a much stickier situation. I read a book one time called, The Other Mother, about a lady who married into a widower’s family. She said it’s easier in her case because of the closure, even though you have to deal with never living up to a martyred saint. Divorce is not legitimized for obvious reasons.

In most stories, the shunned person gets killed or permanently put away. The mind wants closure. Living with other parents takes a sort of reinvention. I haven’t been able to do it, even after all these years. That person isn’t supposed to be the spouse who rejected you anymore. They’re this new person who happens to also be a parent to your children, so you’re supposed to be friends with them. Grown ups are supposed to be able to do this, and I know many who have. I can’t seem to move on. I can’t forget who they were, and still behave like. “Move on” is an interesting chapter in Bleak House.