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I Can't Live Within You



What am I feeling right now? I do not know. For the first time since my sister's passing, I am returning to New York and facing everything. I am the only one left that has not visited the memorial. I am scared. No, I am terrified. More than once I have tried to change my mind about going. More than once did I try to make an excuse not to go. Then there is that pull I feel to go. The desire that I may be closer to her. I feel as though she is there and maybe, just maybe I will gain the chance to fill that emptiness she left in my heart. It is difficult to imagine being there is 'closure' for me. How can it be closure anyways? Even with therapy, this never gets easier. Why? Because it wasn't normal? Because it was such a large scale loss? That word closure is mean to me. Facing her death. I'm not disillusioned that there is the possibility she is alive. So why closure? This trip is about being the closest I can be to her. I do not know what religion is right and whether something is real or not - but what I know is what I -want-. I want her to be there and I want to be next to her.

Which brings me to this year's piece. I've never depicted "myself" in my drawings unless you count 2006 with Lune. This year is about me and her. The little sister missing the person she looked up to and needing her - wanting her. I was 15 years old. I am now 29. That day wrecked me to the core. I remember sitting in my classroom minding my own business and drawing away when a student ran in and turned the television on. It's funny how life throws things at you. Looking at the television to see one of the towers burning, it seemed strange staring at it. My gut was saying something was wrong and that the building had a lot of significance to me and no one else in the classroom. Moments of staring, I thought back to my summer trip. 

"This is the building I work in."

A lot of memories are gone, but I can remember that one.

Immediately, I got sick and went to the restroom. It was surreal. I recall staring at my self in the mirror and to this day, remember the reflection as I struggled to compose myself. Returning to the class felt like an eternity. The hallway stretched for what felt like miles as I walked down it and got a glimpse of people surrounding my classroom door. Once I was spotted, it was a stampede of people rushing to me. I was being picked up by my mother. Arms grabbed at me, voices called out to me. I don't remember how I got to my desk - it went black. My life was ruined. I remember flashes of memories during that point. Crying uncontrollably at my desk as teacher and students tried to console me. I was vacated from the classroom and sent into the Deans office. I saw groups of girls crying. I wondered "Am I not alone?". I sat in a chair trying to be strong. Two girls held onto me trying to tell me it was okay. Then I saw my mother. She grabbed me so hard by the arm and yanked be out of the room. We must have been driving so fast. I had never seen my mother look this way before and I pray to God I never will again. She screamed that my sister was dead and I begged her to stop saying that. Once we got home, it was a mess. Suitcases. They were leaving for New York. I was being sent away. This entire point in time was another blur. I was sent off to live with another family - school was awkward. I was segregated from the students by my teachers as news played in the rooms. I was abnormal - at least thats how I felt. Art was my only comfort. I blocked off my friends and every day during school that wasnt in a class was spent in the library drawing. This went on for weeks. I'd get updates...but you kind of knew my sister wasn't coming home. It was never "She is dead". It wasn't ever told to me. I just had to figure it out alone. There was no one to grieve with and no one to comfort me. My mother was in her own world, my little brothers were children and my older brother was off on his own. 

My comfort were these drawings. They are here to console me because no one else was. A great teacher taught me how to express these feelings into this work. I'd like to think he saved me a great deal. So here we are. This is the 9th drawing. While there have been others I have done, they are hard to track a date on. This year's piece is special. A longing to be close to her and touch her but regardless of how close I am she is still always an arms length away. I pray there is a heaven. I pray I can find that chance to touch her.

I wasn't planning on writing the description out until I was in New York so I can gauge my feelings then but I just kept going. I will write to you guys when I am there. I will take videos and I will share this story and continue to share it throughout the years.

I want to thank everyone for always being here and helping me through this time. Thank you for thinking about me and thank you for seeing my art and taking a moment to remember my sister and those lost. 
I thought I would write more while I am here in New York. I don't have much to say but I wanted to share stuff with you all. First, today (9/10) I went to the memorial, museum and the freedom tower observatory. It was very surreal for me and overwhelming at first. My husband found her name on the reflection pools and called me over. Asking him to leave me be, I stood there for what felt like an hour thinking, contemplating and generally just hoping to feel something. Nothing really came to me but I knew I was closer. I shed a few tears but nothing incredibly hard - until I was moving back to see my husband. It was a torrential downpour in his arms and it felt good. Unlike being at home and dealing with those emotions around people, here...I was around people who have experienced the same pain. They lost people too. I had some familiarity.…

Being inside the museum was okay. Nothing I had not seen or known about. I couldnt watch my own submission to the victim profiles, which was weird because...its my own voice and I know what I was saying. I cracked and walked away. The museum was beautiful. I still havent gone through it all and will go through more on the anniversary (tomorrow) with family. Now... out of the entire time I have been here I have not felt peace. I have not felt this "closure". At least not until I stepped into a particular room.

Off to the side of the mural is a an area specifically for families. Behind this mural sits the remains of the unclaimed and unidentified. I knew she was in there since we can't keep taking everything and digging things yeah, I knew what was inside. I asked if I could go in and I filled out papers and was granted access. I waited for the Anthropologist to meet with me and she escorted me inside a private area. The Reflection Room. There were tissue boxes, couches and a calming area for families to sit. Then she brought me over to a little sectioned area that bore a window. Inside was a long stretch of cabinets which held remains. I asked questions and finally was left to think and left to stare. I thought I'd break down but I didn't. I was calm. I started to feel at ease. I started to talk. I told her I was there. I told her I miss her and I told her I love her. I was close to her. It won't erase how I feel, no, was

Then came the observatory. I've never been in a building more than 10 stories. This was a special experience all on its own. I was terrified to go in. Even the logic of "lightning doesnt strike in the same place twice" didn't help. Texting my big brother helped. He encouraged me and reassured me it was near impenetrable. So I went. Boy...your ears will pop. It was beautiful though. A must see but...its made into another tourist attraction for most. Another Empire State. "See Forever".…

Being here has certainly made me miss my sister but...there are new memories. Not exactly all good ones but... new. I'm glad I came and faced it all head on.  Also... a little surprise. Walking into my Aunts house, I saw the picture that started ALL of this. Granted, I think I drew it from an anime but this is the same picture that is on my sister's headstone. My aunt has it framed on the wall of the house. SO...I have 2001 or 2002 for you.

Album of some of the photos from my trip:…


To see my previous years for my 9/11 pieces:

2014 - Love Without Your Heartbeat
2013 - Live Without Your Sunlight
2012 - Deliver Me
2011 - Mendless Heart
2010 - Only Time
2009 - Streets of Heaven
2008 - If you came back from heaven
2007 - Who can say?
2006 - Watermarked in my mind

My sister:………
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Derekzilla's avatar

*plays Persecution of the Masses*