By Kristy Ojala
To imagine Jennifer Gardner Trulson’s profound pain and shock on September 11, 2001 is an impossible act. Her husband Doug, like thousands of others, was working in the World Trade Center when it was hit by a hijacked plane. At the time, Jennifer was the happily married mother of two young children, ages 2 and 4. She had no choice but to move forward, numbly, keeping a “smile pasted on her face and hoping her insides would catch up.”
In her book Where You Left Me and in this touching video, she reflects on the true love of her life, going through dinner parties as a self-described third wheel, and the unlikely event that helped her find love again: A handsome Seattle bachelor stepping on her foot in a bar.
As Jennifer notes, “It is possible to live a fully present life and carry your past with you.”
Everyone finds themselves in a very private yet public place on 9/11. Each year I turn on the news and listen to the victim’s names read as I get ready for work. It’s difficult, but I find that it’s a necessary ritual for me. I feel sorrow, gratitude, the rattled feeling that something like this could happen again. I remember where I was that day 12 years ago, having lived in New York City for only a month and a half. I decided to stay partially because of what I have seen the city grow into over a long recovery process. We’re all a work in progress, but as Jennifer notes, we are very much shaped by our past. As individuals, families, co-workers, cities, nations, and on a bigger scale, a global community that sometimes seems as precious and unstable as life itself.
Get information here on the September 11th Day of Service and Remembrance as well as emergency preparedness tips.