Family matters.

#WhatMattersWed 09.11.19 - We're all connected.

This is a special edition post in honor and remembrance of 9/11.

Family - any of various social units differing from but regarded as equivalent to the traditional family unit consisting of blood relatives.

I wasn’t directly affected by the tragedy of September 11, meaning I didn’t lose a loved one in the towers or resulting devastation. But like so many, I did feel the effects of loss and humility of what happened.

Since that day I've not given homage to the anniversary, in fact, I'm sure I've never written or spoken about it at all. If you can believe it, I've never even seen the footage from that day. How can that be, right?

On September 11, 2001, I was out walking my dog near my home in NC. There wasn't anything particular of note on that morning, the sun was shining, birds chirped, as usual, nothing was out of the ordinary. It wasn't until we reached Oak Street, about a mile from home that the air changed. I'll never forget my experience on the corner of Oak Street.

As we turned the corner, everything went silent, the hairs on my arms and the back of my neck stood up, and my dog stopped dead in his tracks. I wasn't near a television, I wasn't carrying a cell phone, and there wasn't anyone else on the street and yet, I knew. I knew with every fiber of my being that something awful had happened, I didn't know what, but I knew.

I felt what I can only describe as a collective gut punch, it was a giant tidal wave of grief and pain and darkness that hit me to my core. It was only after returning home did I learn what had happened in New York.

Yes, I know that bad things happen all over the world. However, 9/11 was the first time something so traumatic and with such magnitude had ever happened on US soil.

That moment, keeled over with nausea on the corner of Oak Street, I felt the whole world or maybe just my slice of it.

I grew up in NJ, and I still have family there. At that time, my Dad worked in NY, so I went into a panic when I couldn't reach him on the phone. He was close enough to witness one of the planes veer, but he was spared from watching it crash.

While waiting to hear from my Dad, I had visions of my family. In my mind's eye, I saw them and extended family, friends, and loved ones. I saw my mailman, my grocer, neighbors, and other folks who have come and gone in my life, seemingly unimportant to me. But now, I know better. I know that I felt all of those people because we are all connected.

My heart bleeds for those who died on 9/11, and I am so sorry if you personally lost someone. Tragically, it took an unimaginable event to show us that we are wound together in a cosmic tapestry, there are no strangers.

Every person in your life, those connected to you by blood or by choice, and even people you've yet to meet are a part of you.

We belong to each other, a global family. At least that's how it should be, right?

Each Wednesday, I share a motivational/inspirational prompt in the GAWWLOP Facebook group. Please consider joining to get more #WhatMattersWednesday posts.