Director: James Whitaker“We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.”— Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment
This quote is the words I needed to express my connection to this movie, and to one of the people in the film. I recently watched a movie called Rebirth. A documentary that came out last year, shadowing 5 people who were horribly affected by 9/11, over 10 years this movie documents the healing process after experiencing something so unimaginably tragic and unexplainable.
I have watched a lot of 9/11 documentaries, movies, interviews - like most people - I was not touched in my own family, but jarred and emotionally effected at the loss it was for our nation, and for anyone who lost a brother, sister, friend, mother, father, aunt, etc. Over the last few years I have tended to steer away from these movies, because honestly they make me sad, make me cry and as someone who wasn't directly affected, at times I feel bad for my tears - like I don't deserve them.
My late brother Jimmy - who would have been 31 this year - was living in NYC when the attacks occurred. We were panicked. He got a hold of us that day, saying he was fine. He was obviously shaken, sad, confused, angry. There was darkness in his voice. A few years later we traveled to NYC for a few days, on the way to CT for his Yale graduation. I wanted to see Ground Zero - but never did. Did I try very hard to go? No. Part of me dreaded it. The cloud of darkness was still looming around my brother and his graduation. Later sadly we will learn that cloud was a much bigger issue, mental issues. And in 2007 - at he age of 27 - my brother jumped out of the 9th story of his office building in Atlanta.
What does this have to do with this movie about 9/11? I began to watch it one afternoon. Within minutes of beginning a young boy - if I had to guess he had to have been 17 or 18 - named Nicolas Chirls. He had lost his mother, who was working in the World Trade Center. Was it because I was a young mother and the story tugged at my heart? Sure. But it was more than that. This movie showed the different types of grief and processes of healing. It was in his eyes. The way he held himself. This young man, was so real, so honest, but also so together and composed. Not stoic, but solid. The memories he shared or chose to share were so exposed and vulnerable, but the way he presented them was like they were on a plaque - with true memorial, honor and recognition. He was so thoughtful and careful at such a young age to his grief process. Giving himself room to be angry, but also to miss her and need to just "smell her hair".
I shed tears for Nicolas. From the moment with the baby sparrow, to her birthday wish, selflessly given to each of her children, by way of re-lighting birthday candles...I connected with him. I felt like he could have been my brother. I wanted to check on him, send him cookies, give him a hug and let him know he was amazing.
I don't mean to ignore the others highlighted in this movie. They all had amazing stories of loss and "Rebirth" that brought a sense of hope and joy with every detail. But have you ever watched a movie, and days, weeks, months after - a part of it sticks with you? This is what has stuck to me. Here is a trailer. Watch it if you can - Its on the movie channels right now.