Saturday, April 23, 2016

Because this is how I survived my suicide.

Nut house. Rubber room. Crazy Hospital...Mental Hospital...Psychiatric Facility. What do you think of when you hear those names? Straight jackets? Mentally ill people rocking back and forth talking to themselves or to their hallucinations? Do you think of your co-workers? What about your neighbor? Friend? Cousin? Spouse?...Me?

My first stay was when I was 14. I was released from the medical hospital, and was transferred straight to Herrick Hospital in Berkeley, a psychiatric hospital. I was being treated for anorexia. Although my first few hospitalizations were for my eating disorder, the majority of them (and the longest ones) were due to my depression and suicide attempts. I never wanted to be there. I never thought I needed it. It was always a 51-50, a 72 hour psychiatric hold, that kept me there. I knew the drill though. Play the good patient, say all the right answers and do all the right things, wait it out and after 3 days I would be released and back to my "normal" life. But my life wasn't normal. It was a downward spiral into depression, I was drowning in despair and hopelessness and nothing was helping. The summer before my senior year in high school I ended up on a 52-50, a 7 day psychiatric hold. A few months later I would start my longest stay. 3 months in Herrick, the psych hospital, followed by 7 months at Sunny Hills, a residential treatment facility.

What did I do to be in treatment for 10 months? I tried to kill myself. And I very nearly succeeded.

At the beginning of my senior year I was deeply and severely depressed. I had already started cutting. I was in therapy, I was on several medications. Nothing was helping. My mom had already locked up all the pills in the house, to keep me safe from myself. One day she left home without her keys, and I took advantage of the situation. I grabbed a plastic baggie and took her prescription pills and put a few of each inside. I locked the rest back up, put away the keys, and hid the pills under my bed for a "rainy day". That "rainy day" came in early October. We had taken a test in AP Biology and I received my grade, an F. I remember not even crying about it, the moment I saw the grade I knew exactly what I was going to do about this failure. I was then sent into the hall because the class was going to grade a quiz that I had not yet taken. So I went and sat in the hall, and a minute later I stood up and left. I got into my car, and then I started crying, because in a few short minutes I was going to end my life. When I got home I went straight to the pills under my bed. I took them all, just a couple handfuls, and laid down on the sofa to die. I had my suicide note, and I was ready. I don't remember anything that happened afterwards. I woke up a day later in the hospital, alive. I owe that fact to my best friend Katy. She was in my AP Bio class with me and when she noticed I didn't come back in from the hall after they finished taking their quiz, she called my mom. My mom immediately called home to see if I was there. I don't remember the conversation with her, since I had already taken the pills. But I answered the phone, told her everything was okay, and hung up. Not believing me, she came home to check on me and called 911. Some of the pills I took were medications for hypertension, which sent my blood pressure so low they had to keep injecting me with medications to counteract it. After being stabilized and discharged I was immediately transferred back to Herrick, where I started my longest stay. I stayed there for 3 months while my Mom had to figure out what to do with me. She didn't want me at home, she couldn't have me at home safely. For those 3 months I blamed her for every moment I was away from home. It was only later I realized that things were so bad, that I had left her with no options. Eventually I was placed in a residential treatment facility, a group home for foster kids who could not be in regular foster homes due to their mental health issues. Those of us with stable families to go home to were few and far between. I stayed there for the remainder of my senior year of high school.

Before my suicide attempt I was so depressed that every day was not worth living. The very act of being awake and breathing was too painful. There were moments that did not suck as badly as others, but all the days torturous and hopeless. My Mom was doing her best, she did everything the professionals told her to do. Therapy, doctors, several different medications, even a 504 plan at school to keep me safe when she couldn't be with me (which my AP Bio teacher did not follow). Nothing was working and it was only a matter of time before I found some excuse to go and take those pills to end it all. If it wasn't that F it would have been a terrible swim meet, or a sarcastic comment that I would misunderstand and taken to heart; I would have found another reason. The only thing that kept me alive was the psychiatric hospital, and subsequent stay and the residential treatment facility. Did being there cure my depression? No. Did they make me feel better? No. Did they help me work through my issues? No. Did they keep me in a safe place where I couldn't harm myself? YES. Is that all that matters? To me, now, yes.

Sometimes we need help. Sometimes we simply cannot do it on our own. And sometimes, even with some help, we still can't. That is not a reason to give up, there are options. The options may be extreme, or they may just feel that way, but there are options out there. USE THEM. Are you feeling overwhelmed and anxious? Do you feel like you should be able to control your thoughts and emotions, but can't? Go seek help. Are you already seeing someone and it's not working? Take the meds. Are those not working? Are things getting really bad? Check yourself into a safe place.

Or maybe it's not you, maybe it's someone you love and care about. Support them in their efforts to get better. Love them. Uncertain how to do that? Here, let's practice together.

          You: I heard you checked into a psychiatric hospital. That must have been hard,
                  but I'm glad you got help. Do you want to talk about it?
          Them: Yes, actually that would help a lot.
          You: Okay, let's go get a burrito and chat.

          You: I heard you checked into a psychiatric hospital. That must have been hard,
                  but I'm glad you got help. Do you want to talk about it?
          Them: No, not really.
          You: Okay, that's fine.Want to grab a burrito?

See? Not hard at all. Of course you can substitute burrito for the food of your choice (if you live in Utah, I highly recommend Waffle Love, mmmmm). Take out is especially helpful if that person doesn't want to go out of the house. And an excuse for you to wear yoga pants and stay curled up on the sofa, win-win. The point is, supporting people who are going through something you may know nothing about seems daunting, but it is not hard. Do not make jokes about it (unless they do it first and will appreciate some comedy in the situation). Do not use derogatory terms like "crazy" or "wacko" (unless you are talking about the Animaniacs). Do not press them for more information than they want to share. Do contact them, and make it clear that they do not have to talk to you, but they can if they want to. Make conversations short and sweet, remind them every once in awhile that you are there to talk if they need to. Do treat them the same that you always have (unless you were a jerk to them before, by all means, don't keep doing that). That is a big one. These things are hard to deal with, we don't need to perpetuate a stigma to make them harder. They don't have the plague, they have depression. The more we can start to openly talk about these things, the more people can seek the necessary help to start feeling better, without any shame or embarrassment. That is why I wanted to share my story. Because this is how I survived my suicide.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Because I was a cutter, and now everything is okay.

I feel like I've become a one-woman campaign for mental health awareness...and hey, why stop now? More than anything I just want to give light to something that people don't talk about, that people don't want to talk about. There is such a stigma around mental illness, a shame that follows you, that makes a lonely world even more lonely. I remember after my first hospitalization for my eating disorder, I came back to school after being gone for nearly 3 weeks, and when a cute boy from my swim team asked me where I had been I told him the truth. The look on his face and the awkwardness that descended were enough to make me not want to tell anyone the truth about my extended absences ever again. Although over time my invisible problems became painfully visible to all those around me.

I will be honest, I do not regret much of what I have done. I do not think there was much I could have done differently with the mental and emotional problems I had at the time. What I do regret are the things that scarred me, literally. My left arm is a visible testament to the painful things I have endured. More than a hundred thin parallel scars from my wrist to my upper arm. I have similar scars on my legs and stomach, although much fewer in those places. I do not hide them, I will not live my life in long-sleeves. I don't know how many people notice them, or recognize what they are. A few people have asked. I am never embarressed and I'm always willing to tell them what they are.  The simplest explanation is that they are scars from where I cut myself when I was depressed. To explain them more thoroughly, cutting was at outward expression of my internal feelings. Sometimes it was a release. Sometimes it was the only way to distract from everything happening around and inside me. It was being able to control something, when I couldn't control how I felt. It was my way of coping, my only way of coping with the overwhelming and intense emotions of hopelessness, fear, despair, anger, guilt.

"Sarah's Secret" is a story a wrote for a writing contest at the community college I went to. I won the contest with it. It's called "Sarah's Secret", but it's mine. It is an autobiographical account of a shameful secret I had for years. Although, it wasn't too much of a secret, 100+ scars are hard to hide. I hope you read this, and if you know someone who cuts, I hope it will give you insight into why they do what they do. I never did it to try and kill myself, it was only a distraction to help me cope. It's hard to be on the outside and look in and wonder why people do this. Why intelligent people intentionally mutilate their bodies.You may never understand, you will always want them to stop. They need love, they need support, they do not need another reason to feel ashamed of themselves. They do not need another reason to withdraw from people they love, and lie to those they are closest with. Be open, be honest, be calm, be loving. This is a brief period of time in their life. This does not define who they are. This too shall pass.

Sarah's Secret

         There was a spilled bottle of pills on the counter. Green ones shaped like tiny bullets. A few of them had found themselves on the floor, most were on the cream tile of the counter. Her clumsy movements had knocked the open bottle over. It was like slow motion: she saw the bottle tip over, then she heard the plastic clink. She saw the rush of green color, then heard a few drop to the linoleum kitchen floor. The whole time she stood motionless, just watching it all happen. This was just one more thing to add to her bad day. It may not seem like much, but she she really did not want to deal with those little anit-depressants right now. She did not want to round up all those little green Prozacs into their bottle. She did not want to do anything right now. Well, except for one thing.
          Sarah made her way to the bathroom. She left the spilled pills where they were. She walked in a trance through her kitchen. Past the dining room table covered in today's newspaper. Past the family shoe rack, past the cook book shelf, and the china cabinet. Her feet finally stepped onto the hallway's worn carpet. The carpet felt distant beneath her feet, she was hardly able to feel it. She walked past the linen closet and the wall covered in smiling family portraits to her destination, her favorite room in the house. The stark white door called her in. It was half open, just waiting for her to step in. She slipped past the door and immediately shut it, and made sure it was shut tight. What she was about to do was not allowed in this house, it was not allowed anywhere. It did not matter where she was, every place became the same when she shut out the world and was safe and secure with herself.
         There was no need to turn the light on; it was early enough in the day to use the sun's light instead. Two more steps and Sarah would have what she was looking for, her most prized possession. She hid it in a basket of miscellaneous toiletries on the back of the toilet. Buried under it all was a Ziploc bag full of toilet paper. Not just any toilet paper, Sarah's Secret. Some were stained brown. The blood had dried since she had used it last, leaving the paper hard and stiff. The other toilet paper was a neat little package, that was the true treasure. Opening the toilet paper package, she held it at one end and let it drop like a scroll unraveling. She caught the other end with her hand. And there it was, the means to getting the comfort and control she desperately needed, the razor.
         It was familiar, it gave pain, it gave control, and that is what Sarah wanted. She looked at the thin metal blade in her palm for only a second before she picked it up. She loved the way it felt in her fingers. More dainty that holding a pencil, but the same position. Now came the hard part, finding a place to cut. She pushed up her left sleeve half way up her bicep. Sarah saw the previous encounters with this blade. Over twenty in all, some only faint scars, some still red and swollen.
        Her heart sank a little just looking at them; they were signs of shame and must be hidden at all costs. Now it was time to add one more, one more secret, one more lie to the enormous pile. She picked a spot high on the inside of her arm. "Easier to hide," she thought to herself.
       She raised the razor to her arm, closed her eyes and anticipated the pain. Slowly she drew the cold steel two inches across her flesh. Sarah barely felt the motion; the blade was so sharp it cut with ease. It lasted less than a second and then the razor was once again unattached from her arm. For that brief moment Sarah felt as though she was connected to this inanimate object. She opened her eyes and looked at her newest injury.
       The blood slowly rose, seeping through the thin line. It formed little red beads till it started to run down her arm. Sarah picked up the extra toilet paper to clean away the blood. She could not describe the feeling all this gave to her, she could not even describe it to herself.

This is a hard story to read, but this is my story. I want to share it because I was a cutter, and now everything is okay.


Saturday, March 7, 2015

Because I wish I knew all this when I was 16 (a letter to my 16 year old, anorexic self)

A letter to my 16 year old, anorexic self.

 Dear Me,
         How much would it shock you to know that 10 years from now, you will love your body and the life you are living? I know, you probably scoffed and rolled your eyes at that statement, because 10 years feels like an eternity from now. 10 years ago you were living as a family of four, swimming in the summers, and playing pretend with stuffed animals...and now you are a long way from that. But it's true.
         Right now every waking moment of your day is focused on food or feelings. How much food will I eat today? How much food will I NOT eat today? How much weight will I lose if I eat nothing? How much weight will I gain if I do eat something? How do I deal with all these feelings and emotions? If I make myself vomit will I feel less guilty? If I cut will I have less emotional pain? Remember when they diagnosed you with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and you were stunned at how they determined that? Because in your mind no self-esteem and NPD were opposites? Well all those statements above contained the word "I", and that is all you think about. You spend so much of your days thinking about how awful you are, how fat, how NOT perfect, how everything is your fault; I'm surprised you find time to do anything else.
         Now before you think I am criticizing you, let me explain. In 10 years you will finally realize how exhausting it is to constantly berate yourself each and everyday. You will learn that when you stop thinking about calories, food, bingeing, purging, starving, weight loss, and perfection, all day long, life gets less exhausting. Not to say that in 10 years you won't be perpetually exhausted, because you will. In 10 years your days will be filled with taking care of 2 little boys. Feeding, potty, diapers, playing, napping, teaching, reading, singing, laundry, and cleaning. You will be exhausted.
You will take care of a home you share with your husband who loves you...but also drives you slightly insane. You WILL be exhausted. You will work, and serve at church and feel useful in your community, but you will always be exhausted. The difference is that it is a fulfilling and spiritually rewarding exhaustion. An exhaustion that is opposite of your daily, constant criticism and emotionally overwhelming exhaustion that you feel now. It is an exhaustion that will help you accept and even love your body.
           Remember those 2 little boys I talked about? You may look and your body and hate every inch of it, especially your stomach. That stomach will never be as flat as you want it to be, in fact it will never be flat again. Because within it, a miracle happened, two in fact! In there a baby grew, was sheltered, protected and loved. A precious soul came to a body that grew in the "fat, flabby stomach" you hate. And when they leave your body, it will never be the same, but you will love it. I am not saying that in 10 years you will not want to change things about your body, or that you will love it 100% of then time; but you will appreciate and marvel at it.
          Even now your body does remarkable things. You can swim a 57 second 100 free, and a 25 second 50 free. You can swim for miles at practice, all while starving yourself. Your body will get a 1230 on the SAT without studying, and get a 4 on the AP Bio test without even taking the class. Your
body is ALIVE despite being starved to the point where your heart only beat once every 2 seconds. I
know you look at your body and see what it cannot do, what it does not look like, and in turn you must punish yourself for it. I know that it leads to a spirit crushing exhaustion. In 10 years you will be amazed by your body, you will embrace it and love it, and you won't be spiritually exhausted anymore.
         I write this to inspire you during the dark and desperate times, because I wish I knew all this when I was 16.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Because I got through it, and so can you.

Recently friends of mine lost their brother. I saw it unfold on my Facebook newsfeed. First he was missing, then police found his car, after a search went out they found his body. Seeing this all broke my heart, even though I believe in Heaven, death is the scariest thing to me. The sudden death of a loved one is probably the thing I fear the most. As I scrolled through Facebook again I saw the cause of death, he had taken his own life. And then it all made sense, in a horrible and personal way, I understood exactly what their brother went through. In trying to offer my condolences to my friends I had no words except that Daniel and I both know the pain of this situation. For Daniel and his family, this is how they lost his brother. For me, this is how my family almost lost me.

I've dealt with some heavy and challenging stuff in my life. Growing up my dad drank and had a temper that left us wondering not if he would snap, but when. At age 11 my parents divorced, it was a good thing really, but it was a long and bitter battle with lawyers, mediators, restraining orders and forced visitations. Freshman year of high school I faced anorexia. My world was consumed with food, counting every calorie, exercise and being as thin as I could. I lost weight, my period stopped. My mom took me to the doctor and they sent me straight to the hospital. My resting heart rate was 30 bpm, dangerously low. Hooked up to monitors that alarmed every time my heart rate dipped too low, I barely slept that first night. 9 days in the hospital were followed by 10 more in a psychiatric facility, the first stay of many. When I got out I had regular doctor and psychiatric appointments. Still my battle continued, now with bulimia. I bought and hid my binge foods. I knew what was good for throwing up and in what order to eat it in. I threw up in the shower, friends houses, at school, anywhere I could. More hospitalizations followed. Then the cutting and depression started. Cutting was a way to manage and release all the emotions I had inside. I will wear those painful scars all my life.

I talk about all these things to highlight one, off all the things I have dealt with, depression in by far the worst one. It is a numbness and hopelessness like nothing you can imagine. It is crippling. The world is no longer the same, and you can do nothing about it. And yet despite the numbness, there is simultaneously an overwhelming amount of emotions. My chest and heart would physically hurt, it was the worst pain I have felt. That emotional pain is what led to the cutting. Physical pain to distract, physical pain to release the awful raw emotions. The depression made my once happy (yes it was happy, even with everything else going on) life dismal and bleak. Add any sort of disappointment or failure to that, and the world might as well just end, because living through the pain was not an option. And that is what brought me, several times, to the act of trying to end my own life. I was almost successful. But I wasn't, and somehow I made it through the worst time in my life. And then through the years of depression, my life started to turn around. The feelings weren't so strong, the numbness wasn't there all the time. Slowly, surely, I was turning the corner. Was it the medicine? Not entirely. Therapy? In part, maybe. I honestly don't know, but I made it. I survived not alone and unscathed, but rather with physical and emotional scars and with friends and family who always loved me. No one condemned me, no one made light of my situation. I had dear friends who loved me for who I was at that time, and did anything they could to help. Talk to me on a bad night, left me alone if I needed it, loved me from a distance if that is what helped.

I write this not for my own benefit. While I am not shy about my past, I do not openly talk about it much. The scars on my arm are obvious and many, if people ask I will always answer, I don't mind. But I write this for those people who know the awful pain I have written about, who have thought the only way to make the situation any better is to cease to live anymore. For those people I say, you will get through, you will be happy again, it will get better.  You are worthy of living, you are worth having around. You are infinitely important. Do not be embarrassed about your pain. It is not a sign of weakness, you cannot just 'make yourself happy' or 'snap out of it', it is a serious illness, treat it and look at it that way. I feel like I was a victim of depression, and I still bear the burden if those memories. But you will get through it, because I got through it, and so can you.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Because modesty is for me

This blog should really be called, 'things I want to talk about but it is too long and complicated a topic to post on Facebook'. It's kind of a long title, so I'll just keep the title as is ;)

But seriously though, I have all these thoughts and opinions swimming in my brain, sometimes I put them out into the Facebook world, more often though, they stay swimming around in my brain. This is one of those topics.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormon church, we believe very strongly in modesty. For women this means shorts and skirts that are knee length or longer, shirts that cover shoulders and midriffs. No low cut shirts, no bikinis, no spaghetti strap tank tops, no strapless dresses. That is a lot of  'what not to wear', and for teens especially can be hard to live when it comes to current fashion trends and finding dresses for dances. But this is what we are counseled to do, and this is what I believe in.

Recently I saw an article in Facebook about a photographer who was doing photo shoots of Mormon women, nude. The purpose? Helping these women to feel good about their bodies, to not be ashamed. I read about this (posted by a non-member friend) and was shocked. Were they really suggesting that the push for modesty made these women ashamed of their bodies? If that was the case, then I think they missed the point.

Before I was a member I wore tube tops, bikinis, strapless dresses, tank tops, short skirts, etc. The first time I wore a spaghetti strap tank top I remember feeling so uncomfortable and exposed, but the more I did it, the less awkward I felt. I wore bikinis, and felt all those same feelings, and I never got used to it. When I was learning about the Mormon church I was taught about modesty. My response? I grew up swimming, I am a swimmer, I've spent half my life in a swimsuit, why is that okay but a tank top isn't. But there really is a time and a place for everything.

On top of concept I've often heard told to Young Women, dress modestly so boys don't get the wrong idea or think bad thoughts. While I would love my sons to only associate with modest women, that will not always be the case, and they are responsible for their thoughts, not the women they come in contact with. So to be modest for the sake of vulnerable and impressionable young men only, that is not the point.

The point is, I am modest for me. I am modest to show that I respect the body I have been given, that I respect myself to not have to show lots if skin to be fashionable. I dress modestly because I believe that is how Christ would want me to dress. I feel more comfortable and more confident when I dress this way, I do not have to worry about what will show when I bend over or squat down. I do not cover  up because I am ashamed of my body, but because I love it enough to dress it nicely and modestly so that my light can shine through.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

because it really does take a village

I'm back! School has started, and therefore I am working again, and finding an hour to blog has become   as hard as I thought it would be. But do not be dismayed! Today is the first day of a 4-day weekend called 'fall break' here in Utah (formerly known as UEA), and blogging is at the top of my to-do list (along with many, many other things). So here I go crossing off one thing on my list (ahhh, that feels so good).

You know the phrase, 'it takes a village to raise a child'? Well I recently learned how true that phrase really is. On September 27 I celebrated my 25th birthday and I wanted to do something special to celebrate it. 25 is not really a milestone birthday, but in my own mind, it seems to be. Besides the fact that I can now drive a rental car (with paying extra to do so),  there is nothing very momentous about the number. But for me, half way between 20 and 30 seems important, so I decided to make it important to myself. I started thinking about what I would do, I found a blog post on pinterest (of course) about a woman who did 27 random acts of kindness on her 27th birthday. I thought about doing that, but logistics talked me out of it. Then I started thinking about my life up to this point. I have truly come so far and have experienced (at at times merely survived) so many things in my life. Perhaps the most defining times in my life have been my high school years, and post high school years. The former where I battled with (and nearly lost my life to) anorexia, bulimia, cutting, and depression, the latter where I found my way and became baptized as a member of the LDS church. But none of what I have been through would have possible without the support, love and friendship of so many people. In short, I would not be who I am today (or maybe even be alive today) if it were not for the many people who have helped me along the way. This pondering of my life, combined with the blog post I read led me to the project that would mark my 25th birthday. Write letters to 25 people who have helped me along the way, and helped me be the person I am today.

Originally I intended to write 25 separate letters, but as my deadline (aka, my birthday) approached more quickly than I realized, I decided to write to 25 people. On the top of my list was my mom, and she was the first letter I wrote. If you know anything about my relationship with my mother over the past 25 years, you know that my mother is a saint, she is my hero and a best friend to me, and I owe her so much (especially my life). Others on my list included my sister, grandparents, friends, my 5th grade teacher, people from my past and from the present, and my husband. When I started this project I thought I might just write an email to each person (because stamps are really expensive, and I had a better chance of finishing if I could send an email) but I decided good old fashioned snail mail would be better, and I think it made the process more meaningful for all those involved.

As I wrote each letter I thought about why I had put this person on my list (my list was much longer that 25, but I had to narrow it down or I would be writing letters for months). I searched my memories and my past, I put my thoughts and feelings to paper. Often they were letters of gratitude for things they did, whether they realized what they did affected me or not. At the end of my letter writing journey I realized how lucky I am to be alive. How blessed I am to have the help of so many people in my life. And although I only wrote to 25 people, there are dozens more who deserve a letter (and maybe they will get one at a later birthday). Because through this whole experience I have realized that it really does take a village to raise a child into a women, wife, mother and friend such as I.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

because we still remember...

I was not intending to do a post about about 9/11 today, however what I wanted to put as my facebook status was too long, so I decided to make it a blog post. So here is something I have been thinking about for a few days (yes, I have a constant running narrative in my mind of what to put as my facebook status).

11 years ago today I was a freshman in high school and I remember the moment I heard what happened very clearly. My mom was dropping me off at school, we picked up some of my friends who were already walking, they told us to turn on the radio. I also remember not getting any other information until I got home from school, and at lunch time singing the song "It's the end of the world as we know it" with one of my best friends (I realize know how awful that is, but we were 14 and had no idea what was happening). When I got home my sister was there, she had just driven from LA to Fremont that day with her friend, and all that was on the radio were reports of the events. When I got home all I wanted to do was watch the news, all my sister wanted to do was watch something else, so we watched the Disney channel. I pulled out a photo album I had of my trip to the East Coast with a good friend and her mom, it included a trip to New York City, and I had pictures of the World Trade Towers behind me. Living in California at the time, I could not have been farther from the devastation, but like so many others, the collective hearts of America were there.

I clearly remember so much of that day, and many others can relate. Sadly it seems something like this happens each generation, where people have a "where I was, and what I was doing" moment when they get the awful news, Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, and 9/11.

As I have reflected on the upcoming 11th anniversary of the attacks I was reminded of how long 11 years really is, even though it may not seem like it. The young women at my church were barely alive when it happened, and have no memory of it. The third graders with whom I work with, were born 3 years after the fact. To them this is something they have only heard about, seen in video clips on TV, and will read in history books in years to come. As weird as that may be to me, I am grateful for that fact.

In a world increasingly filled with war, genocide, religious intolerance, terrorism and all other evil and heart-wrenching things, I can only hope and pray that this rising generation never have to experience what we did. As Americans we enjoy a sheltered life, and while some will argue that the things I just mentioned absolutely do affect our children today, it does not have the same personal impact of what happened 11 years ago. I can only hope and pray that the things that we tenderly remember today stay a thing of the past, something that lives within the pages of a history book and in the hearts of those of us who lived through it. It is my wish that we never have a moment where news reporters compare a future tragedy to 9/11, as many on that day compared 9/11 to Pearl Harbor. However naive this may be, let us pray earnestly for those brave soldiers who are doing their all to make this hope happen and our government leaders (however much you may like or dislike them). Because while we still remember what happened, let us have hope for a future with out such a tragedy.