Thursday, May 5, 2011

Can Anyone Define Closure?

Reader note: This is not the usual voice of Buttercup. But the usual voice of Buttercup has receded for now and my thoughts and feelings are somewhere back in time. Specifically I am nine years, seven months and a few handfuls of days back in time. It is September 2001.

I've written about my experiences on September 11, 2001 several times. But over the years I have found that I need to keep these experiences very much in check. They reside in a compartment inside of me. As I get closer to September 11 each year they start to emerge and it is painful. As the day passes the feelings and memories go back into their compartment, for the most part put away until the following year.

Last summer I joined a group that gives tours of the Ground Zero area. I wanted to be able to share my experiences as the unique historical material that they are. The other members of the group are survivors, rescuers and those who had lost loved ones. The training was great, the other members were terrific. I assisted in several tours and found myself almost as depressed as I had been right after September 11. Regrettably I found I had to stop giving tours and reliving my experiences. I learned a good lesson. For many people this was cathartic, but it simply didn't work for me.

On Sunday night all the feelings and memories returned and have stayed. Monday morning's headline once again showed the Trade Towers burning. I've waited seven years, eight plus months for this moment, but there is no closure for me. The lives lost cannot be brought back. The way we live now -- airports, security, police in full military gear on the subway -- is permanent. On a personal note, the anxiety of living in New York City goes into full throttle. Is it safe to ride the subway? Is it the height of foolishness to remain here? It all comes back, again and again and again.

I keep hearing the word "closure," and many news people debating if there is now closure. I do not see closure, do not feel closure and cannot understand how this can be closed. I am deeply grateful to the Navy Seal team and in awe of their courage, but I am not in the street celebrating. I am still mourning all that happened on that beautiful September day nine years ago and expect that I always will.


accidental carer said...

My heart goes out to you and all those around you. We watch from across the water and can only imagine what that time was like. And what life has been like since.

I too think that there can never be closure following such a tragedy. What could ever make it ok?

Some of my colleagues went to try and comfort and support those affected but they were overwhelmed by the enormity of it all. They talk about it on a regular basis; about the extraordinary courage they saw but also about the despair.

No I agree my dear that for those involved there can never be closure.

Please know that there are so many people across the world who wish you well and I offer you all the hugs that you deserve. xxx

Gloria (The Little Red House with the White Porch) said...

Very touching post. I'm sorry for whatever extent you were personally involved when the towers fell on 9/11. It was a tragic day. I have a St. Joseph's prayer for protection, if you feel it would help at all, please email me and I will send it to you.
My best to you.

Sheilagh said...

My dear Buttercup,
I am with Trish on this, my heart goes out to you and your fabulous city. To everyone effected on that awful day. Ralph and I went to Ground Zero and I will never forget the sadness and emotion of the day. I will always be emotional about 9/11. Seeing the church and the exhibiton have hightened that emotion. To know St Pauls church stood strong as the Twin Towers fell. I found that to be amazing and tells me it doesn't matter how small we are, we can stand strong.

The death of Bin Laden will bring closure for some, though I think there will not be for may thousands of people. I cannot celebrate the death, cannot feel satisfaction, he will have met his maker and will have got his just reward, not the one he expected.

My heart aches for your fabulous city at this time.
My arms reach out to give you the biggest loving hug.

Closure is an overworked word and I don't rate closurer that much.

Love you

Sheilagh and Ralph


Anonymous said...

I wish I had words...but for now they escape me. Hugs.

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I don't feel as it's closure either. Until we can be assured that no terrorism exists in our world, we still have that threat. I'm praying for peace in our world. Even though I didn't have the experience you did as I live far away from where the attacks occurred, it will remain forever in my mind. I'm sending many hugs to your way today!

Grammy Staffy said...

Hello Dear,
My heart goes out to you. I can't even imagine what you went through that terrible day. I was devastated as I watched it on TV. I really don't know how you could get "closure" when you were in the center of such tragedy. Bin Ladin's death may not bring closure but at least it is one step towards justice. I am so sorry for all you in NY have been through. I visited ground zero twice and sobbed both times. I usnderstand why you could not be a tour guide there. Again I am so sorry.

On this 42nd day in the hospital, I am heading home to California. I know the long trip will be difficult. Please remember me in your prays.
have a great day. Hugs, Lura

Chatty Crone said...

I agree - especially for the victims who live there and lost loved ones - however maybe it might be a soothing gel to help soothe the pain a bit. When you lose someone and your way of life in such an awful way - I think scars will always remain. I'm so sorry. (HUGS)

Sr. Ann Marie said...

I don't think closure is a once and for all thing. Perhaps things get easier over time but our hearts and emotions are both human and fragile (both a blessing and sometimes a curse, I guess). Perhaps the blessing is that we can still feel the pain but can live with it. To me it would be worse to be immune to it. And in a way that I don't really understand, I think anyone's violent death, even the death of a terrorist like Bin Laden, diminishes me.

Lynda said...

I, too, admire the job done by the Navy Seals. I don't know about closure either but justice was done and a terrorist stopped. However, I remember the fear on the day it happened and we are in TN but I thought of our proximity to Atlanta's International airport - - and as you said, life as we knew it has not ever been the same. We live in a world where fewer and fewer seem to be following the Lord. That in itself is scary but the senseless violence that goes on everyday can be mind-boggling. I praise HIM that no matter what happens, we are safe in HIS hands.

Mimi said...

My neighbor is from NYC, her sister and brother in law were just here visiting, he is a NYC fireman, his stories were gut wrenching, as bad as it was for the USA, I think NYC felt it the worse.
I Hope and Pray that some how this pain can go away and you can walk the streets in that beautiful city and Not think of 9-11

Nancy M. said...

I can't even begin to understand your feelings. I wept the whole day through on 9/11 while trying to work. I didn't get much done then what with praying and crying. I wasn't sure what to do when I heard the news Sunday night that he was dead. That part is over, but I'm not sure we're any safer or if we should be on more alert. It must be thousands of times worse in your city than in the country where we live. {{HUGS}}

Bernie said...

No such thing as closure, we just learn to accept what happened and move forward. There will be waves of emotions which hit us at times. Am sending you big hugs....:-)

TheNote said...

Oh, Dearest Buttercup . . thank you for sharing your heart with us. I can't imagine how it is with you. I'm in the Midwest - and - well, i can't watch or listen to the news - it just seems endless (and raw) - It brings up so much hurt - and, unlike you, i wasn't there -
I'm sending you love and respect - and -
I'm sure grateful for you . . .

Mevely317 said...

Thank you for opening your heart and mind -- I don't know that I could be as courageous.
So now, I'm sitting here unable to think of something, anything to say that might make sense. Can I, instead, just send a HUG?

blessedmom's simple home said...

So well said Buttercup. We watched it from across the country, but we have no idea what this was really like. I feel no closure either, with my nephew in a hospital suffering like he is.
Thank you for sharing.

Sue @ Not the Good Scissors! said...

I am so sorry that your heart aches. There never can be closure for you and countless others. You lived it, saw it and felt it. It will always be there. What happened goes beyond comprehension and will never make any sense. I live in California and have never been to New York but have seen its beautiful skyline countless times in movies and photographs and to this day I still cannot comprehend that the towers are not there. After all of these years it is still so surreal to me.
Blessings, Sue

Sybil said...

I am so sorry that I missed this entry my dear don;t know why but i havn't had notice of many added blogs, so I am only now catching up by trawling through all the ones I have...
closure is an odd word I think for heartbreak,, and I know that the heartbreak can never go away...we can never forget and must not do so of course, it does'nt get better..can never ever go away. And I don't think we really would like it to. what we can do is live with the memories and help others perhaps to live with there's.
don;t think this makes much sense..but I do love and send my love and hugs to You sybil xxxx