What would you say to someone who lost a friend, family member, neighbor, or co-worker in the 9/11 attacks? "I'm so sorry?" "We all suffered with you?" "God's will?" What could you ever say? President Obama had to say something today, as will every president on every September 11th from now on. Sorry for your loss, resolve to fight the bad guys, same thing, same attempt to comfort, to make some sense. It is right to do, but it must just echo so hollowly nonetheless. The years are plodding along, each one a reminder that the dead never come back. They just stay gone.

The biggest fight for those directly connected to the tragedy, I imagine,is to somehow find a way to not let it define everything you are from that moment on. Deaths connected to such a huge horrifying world event take on an even more overwhelming burden. It would be harder to move forward, because in doing that you also must affirm that you are here, and they are not,and that it is OK that you enjoy life somehow, but everyone in the world sees and judges your right to do so. They want to comfort you, but suspect you as shallow if you laugh again.

How do you manage when there are no answers and there never will be any payback or closure, and every year your lost loved one's name will be read from a podium by a solemn-faced man or woman or child? How does your stomach not clench when you glance up at a jet overhead or a skyscraper? How do you see another sunny September sky, blue and cloudless and calm, and not cry?

There aren't any more words to help the people left behind on 9/11, despite our need to try. My hope is that what lies beneath the words, the deeply-felt shared piece of humanity that wants to reach out to those who are in pain, is understood and accepted and felt and known by those who try somehow to climb out of the hell they were sent to. One step, and another, and another, now for eight years.