I made it through yesterday without breaking down into sobs. Perhaps I should have just let it happen, though. Maybe that's part of why so many people are struggling everyday; we're not allowing ourselves to feel anything. I could feel the grip in my chest every time someone said anything about the day and even when I got home, the simplest things would make my breath catch in my throat.
It's not like this all the time. Most days I can avoid thinking about that morning. Most of the time I can push the emotions away and get through the day without any issues. But on the anniversary, when everyone is talking about it and everyone is posting pictures on the social media threads, I find it harder to keep steady and carry on. The fear returns and catches me off-guard, and I'm thrown again into that morning. When no planes flew overhead as I drove to work, when the people in the call center next door refused to make any calls to collect debts, when one woman sat at her desk staring into space as her hands trembled as she hit redial again and again because she couldn't get through to her son, when I wanted to scream and scream and go home and cry as I held my own children, when I realized how very alone I was in that moment, when the world stopped being a safe place.
How strange that I'm more affected by this than I was/am by a personal attack in April 1996. You would think that I'd have had more "trauma" by that attack as I walked to a friend's house. You would think that a physical violation would have thrown me for more of a curve than something that happened more than 2,400 miles away from where I was. And yet, when I think about the personal attack, there is no fear anymore, no anger, just acceptance. When I think about what happened that morning and the days that followed, I hurt. I fear again. I want to gather my children to me and cower in the closet. I want to crawl into the smallest space and keep them safe while I do all I can to be unseen. I hated being alone that morning. I hated knowing that there was very little I could do if an attack was made in Phoenix. I hated being afraid for my children if I ended up dying.
And now, the day after the anniversary, I still feel like I should to cry. I still feel this desperate need to hold my children in safety. I still feel afraid.
I'm up late tonight. Long past the time I should be asleep and yet, I needed the time on my front step. To listen to the crickets and the sound of the rain in the trees and the call of the night. I needed that calm that sometimes washes over me when I'm outdoors.
I had a lot more to say tonight, but I'm feeling more at peace now and I think sleep will be good.
May you all find peace in your moments.