the aftermath

Last night, I went to bed and wrote in my journal, trying to record all of my thoughts and feelings about what had happened on Tuesday. Chad came to bed and soon after that one of the neighborhood cats was taunting Zen through the sliding-glass door, so we were woken out of half-sleep by howling and hissing sounds. After an unsuccessful attempt to close Zen out of the bedroom (she just pawed and pawed at the door, making enough racket to keep us both awake) we let her back in, and the neighborhood cat was gone. Before long, Zen was curled up next to me and fast asleep.

I, on the other hand, slept mere minutes. I experienced multiple nightmares, some of them thankfully forgotten by now, some of them etched permanently into my psyche. Several times I bolted straight up in bed, squinted at the clock, and fell back in tears of frustration. It was obvious my brain was trying to process Tuesday’s events, even more obvious that it was failing.

Yesterday at work I felt like no one was experiencing the terror and loss as profoundly as I was. I knew Chad was at least with coworkers who seemed to be treating the day with the gravity it warranted, but most of my coworkers were not on my wavelength at all. They may have saved their reactions until after work, when they could be more private about them; I wish I had that type of restraint on my emotions. I did manage not to cry at work, and I tried to joke around in the staff meeting, but it was all very flimsy and lame.

Now I am still in the shock of the aftermath, and wondering if this is as good a time as any for the second wave of a terrorist attack, while we recover from these great wounds. I read Osama bin Laden’s words and I try to understand his anger and his sense of vengeance and his great passion for his people. Then I stop, angry myself, angry that he has drawn this line between his people and my own, because that makes it easier for him to condone acts of violence.

I do not want vengeance. I do not want more violence, and I especially do not want more civilians – innocent people, regardless of nationality – to die. I realize how serious this act was, and is, and I realize that our government will exact punishment on those it thinks are responsible. I also realize we may be wrong. If we ever thought ourselves invincible, that delusion no longer exists. The loss of life, of way of life, has been more than I expected. But it was only a matter of time, as the saying goes.

For now, I watch, and wait, and give, and pray.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.