Today marks the 15th anniversary of the tragedy that struck New York City on what was a calm peaceful Tuesday morning. Two hijacked passenger planes flew into two World Trade Center towers that marked the most deadly terrorist attack on US soil in the country’s history.
Many lives were lost on that day. Fathers, mothers, sons, daughter, husbands, wives, etc. People that were loved by many that still live today were at the wrong place at the wrong time.
Although there were actions taken in response to this attack, this isn’t about the “revenge” that was taken or the “justice” that was sought after. Nor is it about putting blame on certain countries or finding the “real” culprit behind the attack.
This day is remembering those that lost their lives in the tragic event.
And although we all go through life experiencing the lost of loved ones, it’s never, ever an easy ordeal. It doesn’t matter if we’ve been through it before or not, it always hurts.
As time goes on, the pain subsides and it’s easier to deal with the heartache. But the feeling is always there. That feeling of missing them, them not being around, and the thoughts of what they’d be like now if they were still with us.
Since this day is one when a lot of us are commemorating those that have passed from this incident, it’s important to consider the reason for our commemoration.
Most of all, we want to this to be a positive experience for us.
HOW SO?!? I’m mourning my relatives and friends and you’re asking me to be positive?
Let me explain what I mean by this.
Commemorating The Deceased
This day affects those of us that have lost someone close to us more so than those that haven’t been directly affected by this event.
And it is this day each year that many gather together to remember those dear to them.
To commemorate those that have lost their lives, each of us have our own unique way in doing this. Some may get together with friends and family and having a meal together. Others might visit the memorial site at New York City. There are those that rather be with only those that are closest to them and talk about their feelings.
Whatever it is that we do to remember these individuals, we all do it with one purpose in mind: to remember the deceased and who they were.
This goes beyond just remembering their names and their titles. This is about much more than that.
Their Lives And Accomplishments
Beyond just knowing their names and what they did for a living, it’s important that we understand who the person really was.
As important as it is to remember what they’ve done, we also may ponder over how they lived their lives. What did they do in their spare time? What were their hobbies? What were their favorite pastime and activities?
The answer to those questions gives us a glimpse into the type of people they were and their character. Did they spend a lot of time participating in charity work? Maybe they had values and standards that they stood by regardless of the adversities or temptations they were facing. Or no matter how busy they were, they always had time for their family.
As we went over, each of us have their own unique way of commemorating those that we’ve lost. These are just a few of the factors a most of us probably consider during this time.
We may also consider the impact they had on not just our own life, but on those of others. The legacy that these ones left behind extends far beyond that just what may seem to be obvious.
If they were a social worker, a firefighter, or a hospital worker, their daily life’s work involved making life better for others. And this is something definitely worth remembering about them.
For a lot of us, we’re moved to participate in activities that they had enjoyed. Whether it’s eating a certain meal, running a certain race, or just visiting a certain place, these are all things that a lot of us do on this day each year.
But there are some things that we can do that goes beyond just commemoration.
You may be doing this already, but there are some that may not have considered this.
What They Would Want For Us
If we had lost someone very close to us, the pain is deep and it can make us forget everything else. As mentioned already, time is the only way our wounds heal but even then, scars are left behind.
It’s easy to get lost in despair and not feel the desire to do anything else except to mourn their deaths.
While mourning and grieving is a healthy and necessary part of the process, doing it in excess would actually be detrimental to us. Not to mention that it most likely isn’t what the deceased would’ve want for us.
I want to take this time to say that I’m saying this in a general sense only, and by no means do I know your personal situation. Your circumstance is unique to you and what I’m about to say may not apply to you 100%.
Part of our memory of our loved ones would include their interests, their character, how they treated others, etc. And the more we know them, the more we’d be able to figure out what they would’ve wanted for us.
Thinking deeply about them, do we feel that they would want us to mourn their deaths and grieve indefinitely? Do you think they would want us to be in despair and hold on to those feelings of lost and pain forever?
While we can’t ask them personally, most of us can be confident that our deceased loved ones might no even want us to mourn at all.
They most likely would want us to remember them, as no one truly wants to be forgotten about, especially by their friends and family.
But I doubt any of them would want us to spend our time in despair and hurt.
Easier Said Than Done
Of course this is much easier said (in my case typed) than done. It’s still difficult for some to not feel overwhelmed with negative feelings when we think about our deceased loved ones.
One way to think about this is imagine if the person was alive today, what they would say to us.
While this may be hard and even trigger more pain and associated feelings, it definitely helps to put things into perspective.
Would they tell us to completely forget about them and just move on? I doubt that. Would they tell us to keep spending time grieving their deaths and constantly think about them every moment of our lives? I doubt that also.
I found this to really help me get past the mourning process and make the commemoration process a positive one for me.
My grandmother passed away 2 years ago, and I was very close to her. It was very rough, especially seeing my mother grieving for her for months after her death.
But I remember explicitly what kind of person my grandmother was, and I’m confident in what she’d say to me if she was still alive. And that helped me get past the pain much quicker than if I hadn’t thought about it in this way.
The pain is still there. Every time I think of her I feel like something is missing in my life. And there are moments, although much less infrequent now compared to last year, when I’d sob uncontrollably just thinking of her.
But I know she wouldn’t want me to spend all my time mourning her, feeling bad about not being as good of a grandson as I could’ve been, or doing all the dumb things as a kid that probably spiked her blood pressure.
I know what she’d want for me and that’s exactly the path that I chose to follow: live my life the way that I want to live, in happiness.
That is the one thing my grandmother had always shown through her actions and her words.
So when we’re commemorating our friend or family member, think of what they would want for us, not just now, but for the rest of our lives? How would they feel if they saw us the way we are now? What would they want for us now and for years to come?
Live our life that way, and we’re truly commemorating those we’ve lost in death.
Value What We Have, Everyday
Obviously, none of us forward to commemorating dead loved ones. If there’s a choice, I’m sure we all much rather have them here with us than commemorate their deaths.
But it’s a fact of life that we’re going to lose our friends and family. Whether it’s an unforeseen occurrence, old age, or other reasons, death eventually catches up to everyone.
This is in no way promoting a pessimistic view on life, but we should value everything that we have every single day.
It may sound similar to the cliche to live every day like it’s our last, but when put into the context of this article, we can clearly see the importance of truly valuing our situation, our life, and the life of our friends and family every moment.
Are there things that we’d want to say to them after their deaths? Maybe words of endearment, encouragement, or other messages that we’d want them to know. Why wait til then?
Value the relationship with have with them today and live our lives to reflect that attitude!