Today, being the anniversary of the 9-11 terrorist attacks, is a sober one for many of our readers.  My heart is with those of you who are mourning and remembering.

I like to mark the various anniversaries of my life, both happy and sad.  For example, each year on the day that my leg was amputated due to cancer, I spend a moment reflecting on how my life has changed since that terrible day. And on the happier end of things, my spouse and I just celebrated our wedding anniversary with a special weekend together. As we did so, we reflected back on each of the 17 years since we married and remembered how we had celebrated, which was so very fun. We were married on September 2nd of 1992, so our anniversary is 09.02.92. What an easy date to remember!

Just a few days ago, on 09.09.09, something else momentous happened in our life, which may well be a date that we will mark for a long time to come. On Wednesday evening, my husband was excommunicated from the church on the charge of apostasy. I was invited to testify on his behalf in that somber gathering, and held his hand as we were ushered out of the office door after the verdict was rendered.

Often, when I think of the anniversaries of traumatic events, I mark the time as “before” and “after.” For example, I think of how carefree and confident my life was before I was diagnosed with cancer, I remember how secure I felt before the 9-11 attacks, and so forth. I’m not sure yet how I will come to think of the impact of our 09.09.09 anniversary. I imagine that it will be very complicated, just as the event itself was.

If you’re inclined to leave a comment on this post, please tell me about a day that changed your life–for the good and/or the bad. (Note: please, please don’t comment on excommunication in a general way. My emotions are too fragile for that at this time.). I want to hear your stories, friends. That’s what I need most right now.


Jana is a university administrator and teaches History. Her soloblog is

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14 Responses

  1. EBrown says:

    I will never forget and was changed forever when my oldest daughter was born. I couldn’t get over how beautiful, fragile, and needy she was. And that she was mine. I simply melted with love.

  2. Craig says:

    There are three anniversaries that are most significant to me.

    The first is the anniversary of when I got home from my mission. Each year I look back on how much I’ve changed since then, and reflect on how my experiences on my mission sowed the seeds of self-determination and doubt which have brought me out of an abuse life into a whole and honest one.

    The next one is the anniversary of when I came out and acknowledged to the world, my family, friends, and most importantly myself who I really was and who I wanted to be.

    And lastly is the anniversary of my resignation from the church where I faced up to my greatest fears and made a choice I knew to be right which contradicted what I had been taught my entire life and went against the wishes of my family and many friends. It was the first time I really stood up to oppression and followed my conscience.

    All three of these are intertwined and I choose to remember them because they have made me who I am today in an incredibly way, and are all extremely positive events in my life.

    And Jana thank you so much for sharing and giving me the impetus to think about this topic.

  3. Deborah says:

    My senior year in high school.

    One December day in 1993, I drove to the local elementary school to teach a creative writing workshop to fourth graders — simply to pad my resume for college. I had spent three years choosing colleges based on their journalism programs.

    Ninety minutes later, I walked out and knew — like I’ve known very little in my life — that I was going to be a teacher. No internal debates, no pro/con lists. They closest I have ever come to feeling something called destiny.

    This week, I started my thirteenth year in the classroom, and I still feel magic when students walk into the room. I’m absurdly lucky to have found this line of work.

  4. Starfoxy says:

    There was a day in 6th grade when I met a girl in science class. We were instructed to work together for the day because both of our regular deskmates were absent that day. She was my very best friend for the next 4 years.

    At the end of those 4 years she went off the deep end and threatened to kill me.

    I later found out that for most of those four years she had mostly been pretending to be my friend and lying to me for laughs with her other friends. Even the nutty behavior she was having near the end was part of it. I’ve never been able to figure out just how much of our friendship was authentic.

    I still can’t get over how it started because the person who normally sat next to me in science was absent for one day.

  5. FoxyJ says:

    My husband and I had been married about nine months and were sitting around our apartment one hot August Saturday shortly before school started. Suddenly my husband’s brother showed up on his motorcycle and told us that his brother-in-law (married to husband’s sister) had just been killed in an accident while they were riding. We gave him a ride to her house and got there at the same time as her bishop and the highway patrol. They had been married four years and had a one-year-old It was one of the first ‘big’ events of our marriage and the first time I’d really been that close to death. I think about those days often because they are so stuck in my brain. It also changed our lives in quite a few ways, some more obvious than others. Like we decided to stay at BYU for grad school rather than moving somewhere else. It’s been seven years and my sister-in-law recently remarried, but I think that every August I will remember those days.

  6. Jessawhy says:

    Starfoxy’s reminded me of one I haven’t thought of in a while (but a better ending, fortunately).

    When I was 5 years old my friend down the street was coming to play. She didn’t show up so I finally went down to meet her. It turned out that a little girl had just moved in next door and they were playing in the moving boxes.
    I was upset and jealous and decided I would never like the new girl.
    Luckily, I changed my mind, although it took a while, and we’ve been best friends for 20 years.

    Also, I have a cool birthday. It’s 1-1-80, so my birthday is either today or next year. It’s also really easy to figure out how old I am, because since 2000, I just have to add the first two digits to the last two digits.

    I’ll also always remember when my first son was diagnosed with hemophilia a few days after he was born. That moment changed my life, and not in the ways I would have expected.

    Thanks for this thread, Jana. My thoughts are with you.

  7. Steve says:

    Excellent topic. Here are some of mine:

    11/25/1990 2:13 am – I was riding my motorcycle down 1300 east in Sandy, UT when I was hit by a hit-and-run driver. To this day, it’s the closest I’ve come to dying. It totally changed my outlook on life, and I was never the same again.

    10/14/1995 abt 2:00 pm – I met my future wife for the first time at my sister’s apartment. From the moment I met her, I had an inkling there was something different and special about her.

    4/12/2000 12:30 pm – My son was born 14 weeks early at LDS hospital in SLC. My wife had been in the hospital on strict bed rest for over a month trying to keep the pregnancy going. From the time they wheeled her from her room to the O.R. until the doctor came in and gave me the news, I was in her hospital room alone sitting in a chair staring straight ahead. It was literally the longest half-hour of my life, not knowing if my wife or my son had lived or died. Our son wound up being in the NICU for over five months. Today he’s got severe cerebral palsy, is in a wheelchair, breathes through a trach tube, is tube fed, wears diapers, and he can’t walk, talk, or do anything for himself. My wife has had to essentially become a nurse in order to take care of him (sometimes I tell her she should just take the exams just to see how much she has learned on her own). The whole experience has changed both of us forever.

  8. kew says:

    June 4th, 2009. I watched as my husband drove away from our apartment in Virginia to start his dream job in Mississippi, and our commuter marriage started. Three months down, twenty to go. If you had told me last year that we would be doing this, I never would have believed you.

  9. Margy says:

    My 10-year-old son has one. He rarely ever gets sick. Last November he had a 24-hour bug or maybe ate something that disagreed with him and he threw up a few times. He was traumatized! I have heard him refer multiple times, now even nearly a year later, to “before barf day and after barf day.”

  10. Alisa says:

    Two years ago I received some very serious immediate family news. It was the weekend of October General Conference. I loved General Conference and always looked forward to eight hours of feasting on the words of great men and women. While devestated by the family news, I sat down Sunday morning prepared that I would receive comfort and strength from what I heard. That was when I heard the talk by Sis. Beck, and everything changed for me. My soul snapped in two as I realized that I could never, ever, be the kind of LDS woman she described as the only way to be. I was not prepared to reject anything in her talk. In fact, it was because I valued what she said so much that I literally lost myself in misery over the messages in that talk. I allowed something like that – a talk, with no intent to harm – to have complete sway over my self-worth. (I say this not to berate Sis. Beck, but to speak my truth about how this talk impacted me during a time where other serious issues combined in my life.)

    I spent months descending into, and then months climbing out of, the greatest spiritual darkness I have ever experienced. I quit attending church every week, showing up only when I could bear it. I gave up my calling as the primary chorister, since this calling I loved had become something pushing me on the edge of a breakdown. I gave up on some of my lifetime goals and focused on getting by day to day. I lost myself, almost completely. And then eventually, quietly, I began to rebuild. I learned to find any truth I could claim as I was and hold on to that. I began to have spiritual experiences. I began to find the feminine divine within myself. I began to discover myself and the kind of woman/LDS/wife/mother that I can (and that I feel I should) be, and I learned to be OK with that. I hope that now if I were faced with another Mothers Who Know talk, I would view it quite differently. Not that I would agree with it, but that I could stand firm in my own spiritual mission and truth and allow another woman, even a leader of the largest women’s organization in the world, to speak her truth without it threatening mine.

  11. D'Arcy says:

    September 20, 1997. I took my very first plane ride. I moved to Paris. It changed my life. It gave me the courage to explore, to live, to learn, and to love more deeply than I ever had before. It still is the crutch that I think of whenever I get afraid to try anything new.

  12. Kelly Ann says:

    September in general is a huge reflection for me … it encompasses the terrorist attacks, an international political awakening for me, the anniversary of the end of my mission shortly after, and my grandfather’s birthday. Every year I think about all of these things.

    Thanks for sharing your experience. You are still in my thoughts.

  13. Kathy says:

    I can’t remember the year, but I remember the moment. A Sunday, in high school, when my parents told us they were divorcing. It shook me so hard. It was at that point I replaced my parents with my sisters as the solid constant in my life. Twenty some odd years later, that is how it remains.

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