9/11, Trauma, and Overrated Closure

9/11, Trauma, and Overrated Closure


As I sit here on September 12th, my mind is still marinading in the surge of 9/11 thoughts and feelings I’ve been experiencing.

9/11 was a traumatic event for the American people. But not all Americans were traumatized; not all 9/11 survivors were traumatized. There were people who walked away from that day and were permanently wounded in mind and body and never felt like they bounced back. And there are those who walked away from that day changed but not traumatized. Everyone is so different in how they experience events and what the aftermath looks like, which is why it’s helpful to stay open-minded when viewing others and how they process life.

I find that closure is often misunderstood. People talk about closure like it’s a finish line in time, where you get over something and no longer feel pangs of pain over it. “Time heals wounds”, the adage goes, but in reality, grief doesn’t work on a linear timeline. Sheri Mandel, a grieving mother whose 13 year-old son was brutally murdered while hiking with a friend in 2002,  shared that you don’t move on, you move with. 

Traumatized or not, we didn’t move on from 9/11. We moved with 9/11; with the memories, the images, the stories, the lessons, and the realities about our world. And the work lies in how, despite tremendous loss and pain, we cultivate space for love, joy, and connection.

May the memories of those lost be for a blessing and the grieving families find comfort and healing.