The Guardian Angels of 9/11

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12 September 2011

Watching on TV a good part of the 9/11 memorial ceremony yesterday at Ground Zero, I was struck by (and can’t stop thinking about) how many of the mourner-presenters – who stood to read a portion of victims’ names, then the name of their own lost loved ones along with a brief few words about them – said something about their beloved deceased “watching over them.”

Almost without exception, survivors of 9/11 (and survivors of those family members who died), when interviewed, will talk about how changed they are, how nothing was ever or will ever be the same.  I wonder how many of them believed in spirits or the spiritual realm beforehand, and how/if this in particular has changed.

This of course assumes that nothing strictly script-like (other than a word limit and perhaps some guidelines?) was given to yesterday’s presenters; although, at one point, hearing the repetition, it did almost seem that their words had been prescribed.  For instance, I think almost everyone addressed their deceased loved one directly, e.g. Mom, we love you and we miss you… I’d like to believe that every word came from the heart yesterday; in fact, I am choosing to believe that.  With something as deeply tragic as the loss of someone you love to an event as horrific as 9/11, I can’t imagine that so many people would allow such a specific prescription from an external power.

It made me think about whether or not, if I unexpectedly lost a loved one, I would speak to him or her, in my mind or out loud, as if the person were still with me.  Would I believe the person were still with me?  Or would it be more like talking to myself, to the part of that person that had become, in some ineffable way, a part of me?  Not unlike the question, Would you have stayed in the burning tower, or would you have jumped?  it’s simply and utterly impossible to imagine.  Nothing could ever prepare a person for such horror or devastation or loss.

 

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