15 Years Ago, I was in NYC, a grad student at Columbia | SIPA, when the Towers were hit and so many innocent people died, tragically. It altered the course of history.There was so much darkness.
But there was also hope.
I still marvel, being a NYC transplant at the time, at how New Yorkers came together to rise above and help each other out. It changed my life.
Our son Maximilian Amadeus was conceived 15 years ago -- "The Greatest Love of God" is what his name means and being pregnant with him literally gave me a life to look forward to in a time of incredible uncertainty, shock and sadness.
Five Years Later...
The storyteller in me, needing release, five years later, having moved back to Ann Arbor, MI to support my husband in his grad studies, I reached out to the play "The Guys," by Anne Nelson in remembrance on the fifth anniversary of 9/11, and produced and directed it in to a packed crowd, which included the mayor.
And, again, on the 10th anniversary in Albany, NY, at The Linda - WAMC's Performing Arts Studio to a much smaller, but appreciative crowd, none-the-less (we had moved to upstate NY for his new job at G.E.)
Looking back, both projects were my way of coping through performance and creativity -- and being part of them helped me to process so many complicated and dark feelings, while also letting go of tears.
15 Years Later -- Today
Now a freshman in high school, our son, Max, knows only of this day and the follow days from the stories his father, Niko Meissner, and I tell him. Being the son of a storyteller, he has been well-versed in the history and significance of 9/11.
And he has, as we tell him, been given a special task to never give in to fear or hate, but to stand up for what is good and just and right -- like so many of the selfless firefighters and active civilians who gave their lives and livelihoods to help so many others.
I, my self, went down to Ground Zero to help in the trenches back then -- only to be told by my doctor, after becoming ill, that I was pregnant and should not go down there with all the debris in the air.
Only to learn, later, how many civilians who had went down there to help, like me, ended up with chronic illnesses from the atmosphere around them (asbestos, what-not in the air).
Being pregnant with Max saved my life in more than one way...15 years ago, today.
I will never forget.
And I ask my fellow mothers and fathers to pass down the tradition of sharing this moment in history so that we all remember what it is like to stand together against hate and violence, rather than giving into our darkest demons.
The terrorism has not ceased.
And we are a more complex culture than we were back then. But if we are alive today, we must carry the legacy and task of creating a better life for our fellow humans and not being afraid to look back -- or look forward with hope.
It is the rising above our inner demons that brings us closer to the divine.
An actress, director, producer and writer, Heidi welcomes you to her Blog. Learn about her latest endeavors and garner a glimpse into her recent accomplishments, both professional and personal.