No Closure

There was no closure.

Days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months.  I watched the images on the TV screen of the rescue workers and hoped beyond all hope that more people would be found in the immense wreckage at what was now being called “Ground Zero” in New York.  I became obsessed with all things 9/11, reading every scrap of information, scouring the internet for images, staying up late nights, as if somehow all of my hours of information gathering would lead to something positive.

It did not.

Our friend Marni continued to remain on the missing list, and as memorial after memorial was held, we had no choice but to finally accept the worst; that along with thousands of others, someone whom we knew was dead as a result of all of this hatred. Our friend Lisa, who had been the closest of all of our group to her, traveled to New York for her memorial, and brought back all of the love and stories to share with us.

It didn’t help.

We wrapped up our fundraiser with the fan club, not without anger and drama as well.  Fans argued about whether or not it was appropriate for us to collect monies from non fans; was it taking advantage of Rick’s generous offer to plump up our numbers?  I had no opinion as I listened to Vivian talk about how much work it was to keep track of the hundreds of people who were donating to our cause.  In the end we raised over $12,000 to donate to the Red Cross.  Any pride we had in the number was obliterated by our sadness at having to attach a name of a person we knew to the donation.

I was still angry.

I watched the world around us normalize again.  The flags started to become less in number, fans started going to shows again, people stopped talking about 9/11.   I continued the every day activities of taking care of my children, cleaning my house, and starting teaching on a weekly basis at the university where I’d conducted the summer web camp.

It was impossible to stop feeling, caring, being affected. My anger, my frustration, my sense of helplessness didn’t end.

And suddenly, it was November.  I strapped my pregnant self into my car and set out to drive to Columbus, for the show that all of us had planned on attending with Marni.   We all traveled in for the show, as we had planned on doing with her.  It became a pilgrimage of sorts, as if we were fulfilling a promise we’d all somehow made to her months ago, in The Time Before.

We met with Rick Springfield before his performance.  Quietly, each of us told him a piece of the significance of our attending the show together.  He listened with the sadness and anger; I recognized it; it was in the same vein as my own.  We shared dinner with him that night and the girls all regaled him with happier stories of the girl he didn’t know, but whose name he now would never forget.  And once we were done, we all marched down the stage steps and took our places in the front row, somehow all feeling that we were channeling the show to her somehow, an offering that would never match her sacrifice and horror.

We all stood together, held each other up, and cried for her that night.  We watched Rick talk of 9/11, play a guitar decorated with an American flag, and dedicate a song to her.  Somehow, each of us in our varying beliefs tried to believe that this was our closure, that somehow she was here with us that evening, sharing our grief and sadness and our shared fandom that brought a silliness to all of our grownup workaday lives.

It didn’t help.  But somehow, something did happen that night that helped all of us, in some small way, put one foot in front of the other a little easier in the days that followed.

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