This weekend I watched a documentary about the artifacts from the 9/11/2001 terror attacks. During the documentary there was an interview with Jules and Gedeon Naudet who made this documentary. I remember watching this documentary shortly after the attacks and then again at the ten-year anniversary. One of the moments that stands out for me is when, after the first tower collapsed, an elevator door suddenly opened and several people walk out to a new world, unaware of the catastrophe that had occurred while they were stuck in the elevators.
In many ways I can relate my grief to those people’s experience. I have been holed up, seemingly unaware of everything else that is going on for the past 3 1/2 years. Only recently have the proverbial elevator doors opened for me (probably a result of a recent trip home –which is for another post). And as I stepped out of those doors I realized the effects of my mother’s death extend so much further than just me. My world is not the only world that has been shattered. My dad, my aunt, my brothers, my husband, my children, my friends… we have all reacted to this profound loss in our own way.
So much has changed since I got on this “elevator” and the world is a much different place now that the doors have opened. I realize that my grief has consumed a great deal of my life for the past 3 1/2 years. The tunnel vision of this grief has blinded me from seeing pain in my immediate family – how broken we are both as a family and as individuals and how we all are fighting our way back to “normal.”
I wonder if this is part of the healing process — seeing your heart open up again and trying to return to the person you once were; finally recognizing the passage of time and what has occurred during that time; feeling the heartache but not being overwhelmed by it (at least some of the time). I wonder if those same individuals who came off of the tower one elevators have experienced similar moments in their lives as they have healed or anyone else for that matter.