Ten years ago today, I awoke excited for the day and for my life. By the time the sun set that night, life as I knew it was gone.
Those “turn-on-a-dime” moments become so significant after they occur, cleaving our lives into “before” and “after” and leaving us permanently changed. That single day or single moment carries the weight of an entire era, as though that terrible thing didn’t exist prior to that moment of discovery.
At first, that day is heavy. A dreaded anniversary that marks the end of innocence and the beginning of grief. As it approaches, it pulls the memories along with it, threatening to overwhelm once again.
During my first few travels through July 11 after that terrible day, I again inhabited my body on the floor after receiving the text that changed everything. Sharp pains would travel along my ribs, tracing the lines where the wracking sobs violently tore tender muscle. I felt that sudden emptiness, like an unexpected drop on some horrifying carnival ride. Fear would again twist my gut, resolutely wringing out any sense of hope.
That day was a wormhole, providing a direct connection between past and present.
Over time, as the “after” begins to grow, that moment slowly loses some of its weight as the memories gain to lose their tenacious grip. It’s a day of significance but no longer a day to fear or dread.
And then eventually, that day becomes one of celebration. Not for what was lost, but for what has been overcome. It becomes a day that marks progress.
And that’s where I am today, ten years from the day that changed everything. I remember that broken woman keening on the cold, hard floor, but I no longer am that woman. Instead, I am the woman that learned to walk again and stubbornly built a new life from those ruins.