Reflecting on loss

Tina Haapala |

By Gary Silverman, CFP®

We are taking a break from our "Dumb" series of articles looking at what makes investors do stupid things even if they are otherwise rather smart folks. Today is about reflection.

There are a few events that are burned into my memory. Some are joyous, like the day of my wedding (40 years and counting as of last month). Some are achievements like graduations or award ceremonies.

And some are filled with memories of angst and sorrow. Today, 9-11, is one of those.

Of course, this day, unlike my personal events, marks a shared memory. 9-11 is not a number anymore; it transcends being a hyphenation of two words. And though it is certainly a date, for most it is as much an emotion as it is a spot on the calendar.

Today is also one in which I allow myself a little impatience. It is not a time when I can sit back while a foreign acquaintance wants to entertain the notion that "we got what we deserved." It is not a time when I will smile when I hear conspiracy theorists expose what they see as proof that one political party or another purposely allowed the attacks to happen. And I'm definitely not interested in sitting by idly if they say that our military orchestrated the attacks in order to get back to the business of war.

If you think that means I'm burying my head in the sand, you are certainly entitled to your opinion. But that’s not for today.

Tomorrow we can argue and debate. Tomorrow we can chronicle lessons learned. Tomorrow we can shine a light into crevices not yet explored. But today I choose to remember, grieve, and cry...
...for the families starting their journey excited about a vacation they would not get to start.
...for the worker in a shiny tower who would never learn that his wife was expecting their first child.
...for the attaché in a five-sided building who didn't get to put on that promotional stripe.
...for the fianceé who, after going by foot to every hospital in a very large city, learned she would never see her love again.

Research, logic, planning… these and other things can wait a little while. This day I choose to explore empathy, sympathy, compassion, grace and love.

This article was published in the Wichita Falls Times Record News on September 11, 2016.