chapter  11
28 Pages

Learning to Be “With” in Personal and Collective Grief

For most Americans, September 11, 2001, is forever stamped into memory. I know it is for me. When the terrorist aacks began, I was on a plane traveling from Tampa to Dulles Airport to assist my elderly mother, who, unable to care for herself, was in a nursing home in Luray, Virginia. I planned to return home to Tampa as quickly as possible to support my husband Art, who was caring for his dying mother in a nursing home in Florida. As soon as the captain informed us about the terrorist aacks, the frames I took for granted regarding ying on a plane, even walking through an airport, no longer t. Immediately I was forced to reframe this experience, at rst for expedience, so that I might gure out what to do aer our plane was forced to land in Charloe, North Carolina. Later I had to make sense of this experience in order to reconstruct a personal life and social world in which I could live, a life and world that held the possibility of a meaningful future in spite of shaered illusions of comfort and safety. No maer where others were or what they were doing that day, I suspect this is a task they faced as well.