I don’t think I will ever forget waking up in the morning and hearing about what was going on in New York. I was living in DC at the time and the fear and sadness were palpable.
Some of my friends drove out of the city to be safe, while the rest of us hunkered down and dealt with all the crazy rumors that were flying about: A fire at the state department, bombs on the national mall, and so much more.
I remember walking out onto the back roof of our house and watching the smoke rising from the pentagon in the distance. It’s a day not many of us Americans will forget anytime soon. However, that doesn’t mean we need to hold on.
I used to think that in order to honor a memory of an important day or of a lost loved one, that I had to take their memory and hold it tight to my chest. Moreover, if I owned items associated with them, I could never get rid of them. So, I would force myself to be sad to honor them.
But I started to realize that torturing myself wasn’t really honoring anyone or anything. I discovered that the only reason I was doing it was to combat the fear that I would lose some piece of that moment or that person that I cherished so much. I was afraid that if I let it go, I would forget.
But what I found was that when I let them go, the people and moments became more alive. Instead of forcing myself to remember and be sad, memories naturally arose in my mind.
Some of these memories were sad, but others were happy or funny. And best of all they were memories that I could see, appreciate, and let go without feeling like a jerk.
To Let Go
So while I think it’s good and important for us all to remember this day with compassion in our hearts. I think it’s just as important to let go. Let go of the anger, let go of the sadness, let go of the outrage, and let go of the tragedy.
Know that as long as you have faculties that you will remember, and also know that as you remember and you let go, your life and compassion becomes the gift that honors everything that was lost on this day.
Being here with love is the best memorial you could offer.