September 8, 2008 undoubtedly changed our lives & accordingly our world. Cancer has a way of doing that, of worming into the holes & filling the cracks with uncertainty, doubt, fear, & sadness. But since that time, we have seen miraculous things — physical healing, emotional healing, spiritual connection. We have hope because each year that passes means an additional step towards freedom from chemo, continued remission, & further gain on the path to a cure.
Last night friends gathered with us for Ericpalooza 3.0. Ericpalooza is essentially Eric’s survival party, as we call it. While we don’t know the exact date that he went into remission, it is fitting to mark the occasion of survival since his date of diagnosis which is why September 8th is the anniversary date for celebration. September 4, 2009 marked the maiden voyage of Ericpalooza. Our house was full to bursting with friends who came to gather, eat, & gab all night while reminiscing on the last year & giving thanks for Eric’s survival. We repeated the tradition in September 5, 2010 & again last night.
While gathered with friends outside in the coolness of our backyard, under the stars, our conversation skipped from lighthearted to mundane to very personal topics. We eventually settled in a discussion about the upcoming anniversary today for 9/11 & recalled where we’d been, how we heard the news, our reactions, our thoughts, & our feelings. It reminded me that there will always be markers in our lives when significant events occur that change the course of our lives in some way forever.
Leukemia may have wedged itself into the lives of Eric, myself, & our families. But 9/11 wedged itself into the lives of those in the World Trade Center Twin Towers of New York City, those on American Airlines Flight 11 & United Airlines Flight 175 which crashed into Towers 1 & 2 of the World Trade Center, those on United Airlines Flight 93 with a final resting place in Pennsylvania, those in the Pentagon, & those on American Airlines Flight 77 which crashed into the Pentagon. Then it wedged itself into the lives of friends & family to those involved, to the First Responders on the scenes, to those inhabiting the areas near the crash sites, & into the lives of the Americans. I do not believe it would be presumptuous to state that it wedged itself into the lives of those around the world solely in changing how flights & airports now manage travel for everyone. I would guess that it goes beyond that, even, but that would be sole speculation.
Thursday, September 8, 2011 was for reflecting on how our personal world changed in a moment with the utterance of one word. And today I reflect on the events of 9/11 that changed an entire world in day. Perhaps this sort of remembrance will remind us to hug our loved ones tighter, laugh a bit longer, & reflect on the mercies & grace that abound in the day.