Griefnet.org Grieves With You...

Our police, emergency workers, medical workers, even canine workers -

 

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More heroes we always knew about, but have more reason than ever to honor.


Email from Jeanne, a New York Police Officer:

I was wrong-I'm not working 13 hour tours -- I'm doing 16-17 hour days. When I get home, I'm so, so, tired, but I can't really sleep, you know? I expect I'll crash eventually. Meanwhile, we're all getting by on 5 hours a night.

Friends, the pictures don't begin to show the tragedy. They show the devastation, but they can't convey the vast, all-encompassing horror. At 4 AM, the worklights make an eerie brightness over a still smoking wasteland. Imagine a war movie- carnage everywhere. Now, magnify that by 1000, and immerse yourself in it. Add the smells- jet fuel, and dust and garbage and smoke and burning flesh and rotting bodies. Smell it so much you can taste it.

Now hear it-hear the cranes and backhoes and engines and generators and people talking. Worse, add the sounds you THINK you hear-- the cries for help that you're sure came from over there-or is it over there? That way? You don't just see the big things, either. You don't just see the massive gap in the skyline you grew up with. You see a haze in the air- a haze that makes your eyes sting, your throat choke, and your skin itch. You see enormous chunks of steel, and concrete and glass. You see cars upside down, inside out, 30 feet up on a pile of rubble. You see clothing and shoes and vendor's carts and paper, paper everywhere. And you see bodies. And parts of bodies.

More than your other senses, though, you FEEL the pain and terror. You feel the grit in your eyes, despite your goggles. You feel the uneven world below your feet. You feel the ache in your bones from lifting stones, only to find nothing underneath. You feel the scrapes and bruises. You feel tired, but if they didn't make you stop, you wouldn't until it was all done. You feel the despair as you realize the people you've found are nowhere near the 10,000 missing. You feel nauseous, all the time. You feel incredible frustration, because in your mind, you could be directing the rescue efforts better, and getting more done.

You feel the tears always in the back of your eyes, because your friends and so many others are dead. And then you feel anger. Rage. Fury. And deep sorrow. Guilt. Grief. Gratitude. And often, strangely, pride. For your country, your city, your co-workers, your friends.

And you keep digging.

 
 
 
 
 
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