I debated whether to post a Gratitude Sunday this week or just leave the quiet 9/11 tribute.  This time in September is heavy for me emotionally, to say the least, yet that is probably all the more reason to express gratitude.

I’ve written about my personal 9/11 experience before (here and here), so I won’t cover that ground again except to say that the feelings are particularly acute on this, the ten-year anniversary.  My heart is with all of the victims’ loved ones today.

Family four years ago at the Michigan-Notre Dame game. Dad is the one in the Colorado sweatshirt, of all things...

In addition to 9/11, these days in September are difficult for another reason.  The Michigan-Notre Dame game is always played the second weekend in September, as it was yesterday.  Four years ago, the day before that game was the last time I spoke to my father.  I was angry with him afterward for reasons that are ridiculous and not worth writing down.  For two weeks, I kept thinking I should call him, if for no other reason to than to find out why, in the name of all that was holy, did he wear the Colorado sweatshirt I’d given him to the game instead of any of the dozen Michigan sweatshirts he owned.  But I didn’t call because I was mad and I felt he should be the one to call me.  And then the unthinkable – it became too late.

One is a grief on a macro scale, and the other on the smallest of micro scales – it’s mine and mine alone.  Yet what the two have in common to me is that I’ve learned that holding on to anger, grudges and hatred only leads to more pain.  It never makes anything better.  As difficult as it is, acceptance for what we cannot change along with forgiveness is what is necessary.  I hope that we as a country can begin to move more toward forgiveness and healing.  As for me, these past four years I’ve lived with the shame and regret of holding onto anger about something that was so trivial and unimportant.  This year, I’ve decided to forgive myself.  Lesson learned.

Mom and I heading out for Les Mis

I am grateful, after all, that many of my family members, some of whom did not see my dad very often, got to spend time with him before he passed.  They had so much fun that day and the stories are now in the record-books of family lore.  The same family members now congregate every time the Michigan-Notre Dame game is played in Ann Arbor (as it was yesterday), and it’s become a way for them to honor my father’s memory.

So on this day, a day that marks one that was once filled with immense tragedy, there is much to be grateful for.  Here is my list for the week.

Gratitude List for the week ending September 10

  1. I am grateful that none of my family or friends were physically harmed during the 9/11 attacks.  We bear our emotional scars, but we are the lucky ones.
  2. Along the same lines, I am grateful for the health of my friends and family.
  3. I am grateful that my mom and I went to see Les Mis together – the best musical ever written and performed.
  4. We had the most delicious dinner before the show too!
  5. Michigan beat Notre Dame in a classic game that will go down in the record books as one of the greatest ever played.  Michigan won in the last 30 seconds!!!
  6. Fried chicken and cold beer for dinner on game night.
  7. I am grateful for my work.  In addition to my writing, I’m working on another project that is bringing me so much joy and excitement (if not a bit of fear too!).
  8. I took a yoga class with Carmen yesterday.  She is such a beautiful teacher.  There is always a “spiritual” component to her classes.  Yesterday we focused on twists, which she said is a metaphor for drawing in the blessings and lessons of the summer and then taking them and turning into the new season.  I certainly had more than my share of blessings on our trip to Italy this summer, and am glad to carry them with me into the next phase.
  9. I am grateful to live in a place where the seasons are clearly marked by nature.  I heard geese honking the other morning – a harbinger of autumn
  10. Tonight we will have not only a full moon, but a harvest moon.  A fitting moment of beauty on the anniversary of 9/11.

What are you grateful for this week?

Categories: College Football, Family, Gratitude Sunday · Tags: , , , , , ,



  1. Glad you are going to forgive yourself. It’s time.

  2. Self-forgiveness is a hard lesson, but also the important thing we can do for ourselves. I hope you find your peace.

    As always, your list is a beautiful one full of beautiful things.

    Today, I am grateful for a September 11 where I am not afraid.

    • Thank you for your kind words! I’m not sure I’ll ever not be anxious on September 11th, but it’s not because I fear a direct attack. It’s some kind of automatic trigger inside of me. But I am grateful that we survived and thrived and that we all continue to do so.

  3. What a difficult time of year for you Julie. Let’s hope it passes peacefully with understanding.

  4. This is a beautiful post that had me in tears…good for you for forgiving yourself. In my experience, forgiveness can not be forced; it has to come in its own time. Kp

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