A hole is invisible and has no weight or mass yet we have given “hole” a name and use it to describe many things. It is what you are left with when something is removed.
If having experienced personal loss first-hand, you are left with a hole because that person is no longer a part of your life. That hole is always there even though nobody can measure, weigh or see it. You are subject to the randomness of that hole bearing a weighted feel at any given time. It can appear from a song, a holiday, a comment, a smell, being in a crowd or alone, with people you know or with strangers, or from symbolic things like a hockey goal, a piece of mail, a fallen leaf or the sound of a lawnmower. You learn how to navigate through life by either letting yourself feel the weight of that hole, or putting it away and forcing the hole to be invisible and weightless, but it’s always there. Once you are able to move past the grief, you realize these triggers are gifts, the gift of having had that love, but there is pain in that too.
Being at the National September 11 Memorial, I acknowledged that I only think of 9/11 around the anniversary just like some people only think about what happened to me around the holidays or the anniversary even though I think about my losses every day.
To see the size of the buildings’ bases, walk around the grounds and touch the engraved names in the smooth, cold granite was an incredibly moving experience. It is appropriate that in the center of where each building once stood is a vast, bottomless hole surrounded by flowing water. When someone’s life is halted by loss, they are left with a hole but everything around them is in constant motion.
Some of the most significant things in life are invisible and cannot be weighed. While it’s important to stop and reflect, we have to trust the waters that flow around us and be thankful that our lives, even in our most difficult moments, are filled and flowing with gifts.
We don’t bother to fully define love until we have lost it. But we should.
9/11 Memorial & Museum | 180 Greenwich St, New York NY | 212 312 8800