September 9, 2011

Dancing after September 11th



This will be an unusually short post for me today because I have to go out and about and do a lot of things, some responsible things, a few fun things, and along with those activities will come the process of remembering and giving thanks for life.

It is important to honor those who died on September 11th; to remember them, to mourn them, to celebrate them. I did not lose a loved one on 9/11. I can only muse on our family's luck that day, the thankfulness I feel for the decade since, and the empathy I feel for those who must think 9/11 was both "last week" and a lifetime ago.

I was in NYC on 9/11 with my sister, Joan Phelps, and my son, Bryce. You can read a post I wrote about that day AT THIS LINK.

When Osama bin Laden was found and killed this year, I thought more about those who died on 9/11. The blogpost I wrote this past May on that event "Justice on May 1" is AT THIS LINK.




The photo above was taken on Sept. 9, 2001. Bryce is looking at a souvenir he's just bought and Joan is in the photo too. We had gone to NYC to meet with Publisher's Weekly and to see Michael Jackson's 30th anniversary concert on 9/10. The concert was incredible and you can get a sense of the sounds and excitement at this YouTube clip.




Here is Bryce earlier in the day, on 9/10/01 in Central Park.


A week after 9/11, we were back in Ohio and the nursing home where Bryce lives has an annual Sept. family cook-out with an Elvis impersonator. Joan and I were there and in 10 days we'd gone from Michael Jackson in Madison Square Garden to the sorrow and shock of 9/11 to a week of nonstop terror attack coverage to a small parking lot in Ohio where we were invited to dance. We did and this photo captures that moment.



This week a wonderful opportunity arose for Bryce; 4 of his drawings have been accepted into a show on The Art of Autism in the Soho Gallery of Digital Arts in NYC on October 27, 2011 and running for 3 weeks. We are taking him there, his second trip to NYC, and so different than our first. I'm going to visit him today and tell him about the show, about our upcoming trip, about how life holds suffering and sadness but also joy and surprise and love. (I will post more about this event soon.)

As you move through the coming days, if sorrow wraps itself around your heart, I hope you will be able to come through the other side of that sorrow and find a sprout of happiness that can grow within you to become a future that will honor life and those who now exist only through our choices and memories.

4 comments:

Glynis said...

Your posts touched me. It is an event that shook the world. Things like this stay with us.

In the UK we lived with the IRA bombings on a daily basis in the '70's. I remember getting off the train to go to work as a nurse. A police officer asked me to move out of the underground and out onto the street. A bomb team brushed past me and entered the carriage where I had been sitting. That day I was thankful for many things. July 7th 2005 my brother was caught up in the London bus bombings. He too looked at his life and counted his blessings.

We must never forget those who lost their lives. I will never feel guilty for being pleased the leaders of these terrorist groups are captured and given their sentence.

Janice Phelps Williams said...

Thank you so much for your comment, Glynis. Every generation has its evil to battle, to raise a fist, or prayer, against. You and I are fortunate to enjoy the freedom to express ourselves and live as women who can choose their own future.

I was thinking this morning of this poem, which you have probably heard before:

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.


--Mary Frye
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Do_not_stand_at_my_grave_and_weep

February Grace said...

Great news about Bryce's art...it and he have been on my mind as recent circumstances put me in the company of several young autistic people for a couple weeks time. I thought of him, and of you.

I hope your trip to NYC is absolutely fantastic. Thanks for the reminder not to take a single day for granted- to celebrate it, instead.

~bru

Janice said...

Thank you, bru, for stopping by. Hope your summer went well. I'll post photos of our time in NYC with Bryce. He is super excited.

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