Maria A. Mansfield
The Stories That Shape Us
9/11 is a tragic day for America. The death toll, the trauma, and the stories just break your heart -every time. Every year, I watch "Remembering 9/11" religiously. Yet, it never ceases to astound me, and it always brings tears to my eyes. Just the horror, the desperation, and that overwhelming fear you see in the videos, somehow still seems to live on -even 19 years later. Our prayers are with all the 9/11 Victims' families and friends. And with the Firefighters and Paramedics who, courageously, ran in when everybody was trying to run out.
Stories have a staying-power in our lives. The experiences we go through, and how they affect our emotional fabric turn them into our personal stories. Those stories shape who we are. Undoubtedly, every family has countless accounts for every aspect of their lives. And, of course, the sacred ones about their loved ones whom they lost. Not just on 9/11 but on any date. They honor their loved ones by remembering them on that day.
Our stories live on even after our time is up. We didn’t lose a loved one in the World Trade Center, but today for my family back in Argentina, it would've been my sister's 58th Birthday. She lost her battle to cancer, and I miss her because she was also my friend. This experience has shaped me. I also remember my husband was in NY City on 9/11. After they opened up the City, I went to pick him up at the train station, where people were getting off the train covered in dirt, dust, and fear. The Story of 9/11 has forever shaped my life.
I think losing someone we love seems to remind us of how fragile life really is. What a blessing it is to even still be here today. Standing. I am aware not everything is perfect, obviously, and that the Pandemic might not really help. But I still believe losing someone gives us a higher sense of respect and gratitude for our own life. Maybe one way we can honor the ones we've lost is by not giving for granted our own life. By trying to overcome our challenges and by not giving up when life gets hard. By being our best, kind, compassionate, merciful, and helping others so we may leave a lasting legacy, once our time is up.
Stories of tragedy, pain, and grief have a way of leveling humankind as nothing else will. These stories shape us. They also shape our world around us.
Today on the news, there was a different kind of Story. It wasn't about taking sides. It was inspiring because, for ONE day, we stood together, leaving differences aside. We honored the 9/11 Victims and their families respectfully. We stood together because the Victims shared a common fate Story that shaped everyone's life that day.
Standing together with the families made us so much stronger today. Showing kindness and compassion to all who suffered such a tragedy made us so much more resilient. In one way or another, we have all been affected by the 9/11 Story. It has shaped our lives even to this day.
My most profound empathy to all who've lost someone they loved.
Maria A. Mansfield, PRS
Author: "Life is Worth Getting Better" "Honoring Your Recovery" &
"Tu Vida Merece Que Te Mejores"