Two Words: You're Alive
On the morning of September 11, 2001, my sister sat on the runway at O'Hare airport, her flight waiting for clearance to take off. She's a flight attendant for United. As the horrific events of the morning unfolded, our family (mom, dad, myself and two other sisters - and countless other family members) were desperately trying to reach her. We didn't know her schedule and didn't know if she was on any of the ill-fated flights that day.
On September 11, 2011 my sister posted the following on facebook:
I have had a number of strangers ask me how I am doing today, but not one of my loved ones has called to check on me. Hmmm.
Her post ignited a bunch of commentary, to the tune of:
What is wrong with your family?
How thoughtless of them!
We love you even if they don't
And when I saw this assault, I commented:
By "loved ones" do you mean your family? If so, then you'll have to consider me offended. On that day 10 years ago we did not know if you were working one of the flights and were desperate to find out. When we did finally realize you were ok, we were relieved. And then the guilt kicked in. Because our relief was so many others' unimaginable grief. Not to be a snot about it, but this really is an unfair characterization of your family - not to mention uninformed commentary by your friends about your family. You are thought of EVERY day. Because you are family. And today, I add the thousands of souls who perished - along with the multitude of those left behind who continue to grieve - to my reflective thoughts. You are one, among many, but don't be offended if I don't single you out.
My comment was up for about 10 seconds. And. Then. She. Deleted. It.
She texted our youngest sister: "I just deleted a comment she made on my post. Guess I'm gonna hear about that".
I did try and call her, but my call went right to voicemail. So I left this message:
I love you, but I believe your post today was totally disrespectful and inappropriate. I found it important that I defend our family's honor. On the anniversary of such tragic events, it is not a time to be self-centric, when you have being alive to celebrate. I hope I talk to you soon.
I've got two words for you sis: You're Alive.
And here are two more: Thousands Aren't.
As if that wasn't enough, try this: Multitudes Grieve.
So in closing, here are my two final words: Getover Yourself.