I’ve heard friends say that this past week of being inundated with 9/11-anniversary footage and commentary has been overwhelming. I can more than empathize. As the co-author of Project Rebirth: Survival and the Strength of the Human Spirit from 9/11 Survivors, I spent close to two years steeped in interview footage of those who had been directly affected by 9/11 testifying to their experiences of great, unthinkable loss and slow, but sure recovery. The book is a companion to a film of the same name, which premieres at 9 p.m. (EST) on Sunday on Showtime, and both move away from the sensationalistic images of the planes flying into the twin towers and political debate about wars and terrorism. Instead, they focus directly on the stories of individual human beings—in pain, in love, and in recovery.
It turns out that even when your grief evolves within the context of a national tragedy, it is still private and, in that sense, universal in so many ways. We all lose. We all have to pick ourselves up after loss. I learned a lot about grief from the survivors I wrote about, but I learned even more about resilience. Here are a just a few of those precious insights. Keep reading »