16 years a survivor and new triggers around the corner

It just occurred to me that today is December 7. The last 15 years I have dreaded the anniversary of the attack I survived. December 1st, 2001 a cup of coffee to avoid laundry, life-changing. I’ve always felt a sense of doom as the day approached. I’ve never been sure what exactly I was supposed to do in order to commemorate this event. Jewish tradition says you make a seudas hada “A Meal of Thanks.” It never felt right though for me to give thanks when others couldn’t. And what do you say to your friends? Hey tonight’s the night I was spared, let’s celebrate. There is always that awkward pause. Others don’t get it. They ask questions that still all these years later I don’t want to answer. As I sit in the comfort of my home I know 11 families still mourn the loss of their children that never made it home that night. More than a 180 people they say were wounded in the blast but I’m not sure that I’ll ever believe those statistics. As I stood there amongst hundreds of people I know that the numbers of those affected are much greater.

In the midst of November madness my family was blessed with a new addition a little girl. Somehow in the utter exhaustion of the last few weeks, I blissfully was able to forget this anniversary. The night my life was spared.

The night that others weren’t.

Since returning to the states after my college years in Israel, I don’t watch the news. I find the world reporting generally depressing. People marveling in others’ downfall generally doesn’t make me feel positive so I avoid it. The last 24 hours though I have been glued. Following President Trump’s announcement that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel and the embassy move I can’t turn away. This was my reminder. Dragged back into the reality of what could happen. My trigger that I didn’t know existed until yesterday. I have watched my friends post their thoughts, words of excitement. I have heard statements of Joy and amazement. I have also read the news and watched as one country after the next has denounced this statement from the President, As Hamas has now declared this to mean the gates of hell will be unleashed. My heart is frozen, knowing what this could mean. 16 years from now another mother in a different country will be recalling this event as the day her life changed.

I want to remain hopeful that the good of the world will one day over power senseless hatred. I want to believe that as the human race we value life more than death and will work together to change the world. I managed to make it almost a week living in pure new motherhood bliss. Smelling the sweet scent of newborn hair and soft baby cuddles. Letting the Anniversary of that day pass me by as if I was on a freight train chugging forward. Today though that train made a sudden Halt. As I sit here looking out the window I am determined that what has not killed me will just make me stronger. I will be the change I wish the world could be. I will combat the evilness with goodness. I will go out of my way today to lift someone up beyond my comfort zone. Maybe it’s not the way I spend the anniversary of that day that will define me, but rather every step I have taken since that day to help the world change for the better….

About the Author
Nechama Gutman was raised in South Florida. She traveled to Israel at the age of 17 where she fell in love with the land. Upon returning to the states she spent several years helping people make Aliyah. Nechama is a mother, wife, a survivor of a terrorist attack and person who wants to bring light into the world.
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