Empathy - Did you think about any of the people when it happened?
Sorry if the title of this thread is confusing, but something I've been wondering about is if, when you first saw or heard about the terrorist acts on Tuesday, you thought about, pictured, or put yourself in the shoes of any of the victims. The human power of imagination can be a very strong and sometimes uncontrollable ability and I've heard people say they pictured in their minds, or empathizing with, those who were working in the World Trade Center or those on the ground being surrounding by the dust of the collapsing buildings or perhaps those in the Pentagon.
I myself had a VERY hard time getting to sleep on Tuesday and Wednesday after viewing the 2nd impact live on TV as it happened because as soon as the news announcer said "there's a second plane!" (which was merely a heartbeat before the plane hit the 2nd WTC tower), my mind wiped out all doubt about the first plane's intent (whether it was an accident or not - I had a somewhat slim doubt that it wasn't intentional) and I just kept thinking about and picturing in my mind all those poor passengers in those planes being used as missiles all day and night. Even as the news was foolishly stating how it "looked like a small plane" and other nonsense, I knew it was clearly a sizable passenger jet that was flown into the giant building (from simply looking at the shape of the plane used in the attack and knowing a little about what different jets look like) and I literally could not stop empathizing with those poor passengers and crew who were being hijacked and killed. Whenever I closed my eyes, I pictured those poor passengers and I couldn't get it out of my head no matter how much I wanted to (and I wanted to since it was SO painful to think about and to let my mind's eye paint pictures of). I'm a bit glad I didn't have bad dreams after the incidents, but when awake, it was just so painful, so sad, so constant -- and yet so difficult not to think about.
I feel in a way like I'm unfairly asking you folks to relive your own personal pain even as we start to heal, but I also think that talking it out, discussing our feelings with friends, and just venting is a good path to personal healing, which is of course part of what we need for societal healing.