On 9/11, Depression and Overcoming

“Where were you on 9/11?”

It’s a question still asked by many, even eleven years after the fact. Each time it is asked of my generation, we say we were at school. Older folks say they were at work or at home. Unlike my generation, I, too, was at home.

I didn’t go to school that day. I was woken up by my dad at about 7:00 a.m., which is a very odd time for him to wake the kids up. It didn’t leave us long to get ready for school. When we came downstairs, my mom and dad asked me to sit on the couch with my brother and sister. Something was very wrong. I could tell by the look on my parents’ faces. Dad confirmed it when he told me that my grandmother had died.

“She shot herself this morning,” he said before breaking down and hugging me, my brother and my sister, all of us crying in an instant.

It was not long after that, during my attempted escape into TV land to try and get away from the real world, that the real world denied my request. I was greeted with footage of the attacks. I saw the second plane hit.

Yeah, that day sucked.

My grandmother was an alcoholic and suffered a severe depression. She lived by herself and, up until that point, had been the best woman, grandmother and friend I could ever hope for. I don’t know whether it was the fact that I was the first grandchild or that she and I were so alike, but if I went more than a week without seeing her, I’d be extremely upset. This was incomprehensible to me.

I’m not saying this to depress you or to take away from the severity of what this day means. I say this to remind you of the evils that exist.

There are evils that exist solely to bring down civilization. There are evils that aim to bring destruction to people and communities. There are evils that work on a much smaller scale, attacking individuals and hurting families.

I ask all of you who read this to take a moment and stop to think of the civilians killed in the deadly attacks that changed our country. Stop and think of the soldiers who, since then, have been in combat whether or not you agree with them being there. Stop and think of those who have lost individual battles. All of those who have suffered loss because of the events of that day, stop and pray for them.

I was depressed following that day. The world had betrayed me. Happiness was gone. I was just in 7th grade, and already I thought I’d never know joy again. With the help of family, friends and that reserve of happiness all young’uns seem to have, I overcame it.

But please, if you ever think that what you’re going through is too much, I would urge you to reconsider. I know it sounds cliche, but think not of yourself, but of those you leave behind. They will suffer far more than you do.


3 thoughts on “On 9/11, Depression and Overcoming

  1. Tad McClung says:

    Powerful words about a day that probably impacted you directly more than most–a double whammy of personal and national disasters. Moving forward can be painful but we recover, are strengthened and find new joys despite the pain. You can’t and shouldn’t forget, but the edge rounds off and you realize you either continue to live your life and choose to be happy, or quit–a permanent solution to problems that are temporary. You’ve obviously moved forward in a positive manner and have found joy in your family, your wife, Miss Elizabeth Jane, and in making the world just a little more enjoyable for those of us who are fortunate enough to know you.

  2. Dennis McClung says:

    Joe I’m sorry that 09/11/2001 will always be a double whammy for you & your family. 09/11/2001 was more than enough for most adults to comprehend much less a 12 yr old & then add the death of your grandmother on top of it. Too much!!!

    You, all of us, & everyone else’s life you have touched are truely blessed that you had the family, faith, & friends you to help you get through those dark & sad days. This world is a much better place with you in it.

    Thanks for sharing your heart felt thoughts.

  3. Melinda McClung says:

    Joe I remember Marva well. She was on the RCIA team the year I became a Catholic. I remember how patient she was with me as I asked questions and tried to understand.I remember her reading in church- -calm, reassuring words. She was a beautiful woman, inside and out. The word “remember” keeps popping up here. But that’s how we keep those precious people in our hearts. I know that was hard for you to write but thank you for it.

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