Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9/11 DO OVER

I know that the time I was hit by a drunk driver and didn't die, I was given a second chance. After my hospital stay I should have looked at life differently, but the  truth is, I was already very happy, grateful, and living every day to the fullest. Once I received the legal settlement though, I erased all my debt and got a used car and remained financially stable till I had kids and bought a house...ah, the American dream.

Today, many conversations went on about the attacks that happened twelve years ago, not far from where I still live. I heard the reconstruction of Ground Zero referred to as a "second chance"; an opportunity to build a stronger, greener, more welcoming building. It's being called "Super Tower", now environmentally compatible, thus ensuring a cleaner, longer life for our ancestors, more  ascetically beautiful than the first design was, and built with a concrete base, many layers of reinforced steel, and wider stairwells; finally an edifice capable of saving those that were tragically lost if we were ever to be attacked again.

I started thinking about second chances that I have been given, and besides the accident with the drunk driver, the only other thing that came to mind was my miscarriage. It is only recently that I started talking about it. Until now, there was a handful of people that knew that there was supposed to be a fourth child. I spent twenty years blaming myself for her death, and when I got pregnant with my daughter Ali, I viewed it as a chance to be a better mother and to carry her to term. I endured painful hormone shots because I vowed to do whatever it took to protect the miracle I was blessed with. 

In the end, I went on to have two more healthy children and have appreciated the do overs every single day, no matter how much we all get on each other's nerves. In that respect, I too was a "Super Tower"...better and stronger and more protective of those I house.

All afternoon, I listened to the public commemorate 9/11 by honoring those who lost their lives and those who jumped up to help without thinking about their own safety. There were many tears shed and they caused me to come upon a hard truth that lives deep within my soul...Or maybe I just expect too much from my fellow man. 

While it is so very nice to be remembered in death and to be forever loved, if I were the one watching you from above, I would rather see that I meant something, than to hear it through mournful speeches laced with paralyzing grief. Memorials are beautiful gestures made, but buildings and ponds and flowers only have meaning if they are enjoyed every day by the joyful as well as those of us trying to find solace. 

The people on Flight 93 gave up their lives to save ours. If I were them, I'd haunt anyone who couldn't see that every day is the do over that they weren't given because they gave it to all of us instead. Our loved ones don't want to see us crying and suffering, they want to see us laughing and smiling and happy to be here.

When I wake up on September 12th, I vow to make their lives and deaths count. I will keep the victims of the 9/11 attacks in my thoughts when I decide to do more of what I want to do, instead of what I have to do. When I smile, I will smile for them, but also for myself, because I have been blessed with the opportunity to do so. I will take a chance and do something out of my comfort zone because I may not have enough time to do the big things on my bucket list, and I need to go out knowing that I took a chance or two. I will be more patient with those around me, (even the fast food workers who think that "No cheese" is code for: "Give me all the cheese in the restaurant") because the one person that could tic me off with their bad driving or dirty look might be part of a group of people that I may collectively mourn with the rest of the world some day...or they could mourn me.

And when I shut my eyes as I go to bed on September 12th, I promise that I will look forward to the 13th and every day after that, because I didn't know any of these victims before 9/11, but now I can't help but know each and every one of them as we are all connected. Although the reason behind the attacks was horrific, the terrorists as well as those lost brought us together. It would be disrespectful to not try and keep it that way when there is no crowd, no speech, and no constant replay of the event that got us here in the first place.

What will you do for the ones you have been left with to love?

CF Winn is the award-winning author of The COFFEE BREAK SERIES, a quirky group of short stories meant to be read while on break or in the waiting room of the doctor's office. Her first novella, SUKI, is published by Shorehouse Books and has been grabbing hearts and hugging souls all over the United States.

You can now order SUKI in paperback on Amazon or at BOOK REVUE, one of the nation’s largest independent bookstores, by email at or by calling (631) 271-1442. Learn more about SUKI at BOOK REVUE
More posts like these can be found at Humor Outcasts and The Patch where she is a regular contributor.

CF Winn is the founder of Winning! Publications, a firm specializing in editing and promotion services for authors. Her latest project is the just released Trailer Trash, With a Girl’s Name, a hilarious and heartwarming story of a boy saddled with a girl’s name and forced to endure a nomadic existence.



Stephanie Neighbour said...

Great post and wonderful reminder of why we have to cherish each day. I think this is the best tribute I've heard or read all day. I'm also glad you're here for your second chance. Go hug those gorgeous kids.

Christina Fifield-Winn said...

Aww...thank you Stephanie. I'll hug them verbally because if I actually touch them, they usually scream, "It burns!" Seriously though, it's amazing how tragedy can offer up the greatest gift: perspective.

Javier A. Robayo said...

I've seldom stopped to take the time to view my new life as a second chance, but after reading through such poignant message, I will do my best to change my perspective and how I look at every moment I live.

Christina Fifield-Winn said...

That's what it's all about J!