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Empire State of Mind

Saturday, September 10, 2011

“In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There’s nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York,
These streets will make you feel brand new,
Big lights will inspire you,
Let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York

One hand in the air for the big city,
Street lights, big dreams all looking pretty,
No place in the world that can compare,
Put your lighters in the air, everybody say yeah, yeah,
Yeah, yeah

In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of,
There’s nothing you can’t do,
Now you’re in New York,
These streets will make you feel brand new,
Big lights will inspire you,
Let’s hear it for New York, New York, New York”

This moving tribute to the people of New York City and the 911 first responders has touched my heart in ways I couldn’t have predicted.<PREVIEWEND> It’s reminded me of the collective pain our nation still feels and the selfless ways total strangers put the lives of others before their own. It’s also made me think about breast cancer families and the strangers who became our caregivers, men and women we came to rely on to keep us alive. In no way do I mean to compare 911 to having breast cancer, or vice versa, but all of us have been touched in small every day moments by loss, illness, war and death.

Profound loss changes who we are: We approach the future with the knowledge our life will never be the same again; we realign the way we see ourselves not only in the context of our own lives, but in relationship to our communities and those who share our common experiences. While we can never return to the days before the terrorist attacks on our country, or the cancer that ravaged our bodies, these tragedies sharpen our determination to survive.

Where were you when you heard about September 11th? Where were you when you were diagnosed with breast cancer? How did September 11th change you? How did breast cancer change you? Did they make you stronger?

As a whole, Americans and those who gravitate to the opportunities and freedoms our shores represent are resilient. It takes a lot to get us down and on our way back up, we grab the hands of those next to us and bring them up with us. A loss of the magnitude of 911 or cancer is incalculable, but generations to come will bear witness and take inspiration from our stories. They will use the lessons we’ve learned as the basis and strength to survive their own crisis.

While my thoughts are of those brave 911 men and women and their families, as well as my breast cancer sisters and their families, I’m also thinking of my own recent loss. My precious James. May God bless you and your families each and every day, and may you take time out of each day to be there for someone else. I thank you for being there for me.

 

 



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