Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where were you when the world stopped turning?

I remember that day like it was yesterday.

I was standing in the bathroom getting ready to go. I was returning a comforter to Macy's. I was drying my hair. Stephen was watching PBS and Sebastian was in the exersaucer. The phone rang. It was my mom telling me a news helicopter or something just crashed in two one of the twin towers. I ran to the TV and changed the channel. All I could see was smoke. And then it happened again. At that point I knew it was intentional. I panicked. I called a friend of mine that was going to go with me to Macy's. "Are you OK?" "Have you talked to Brett?" "Is he OK?" You see, we lived about 20 minutes outside of NYC at this time. Brandon saw the towers everyday on his way into work. My friends husband worked in the Flat Iron building down the street.

This attack was very close to home. So close that the view Brandon enjoyed on his way to work each morning was completely destroyed.

I told Sarah I would be over as quickly as I could. I was going over to be some sort of comfort or support for her. Little did I know that she would be the one showing me comfort on this awful day.

I ended up slamming Sebastian's hand in the car door. Some would blame my haste or my nerves, but no, I was trying to keep him turned away from the rose bushes that he was trying to grab. In my attempt to turn him away from the bushes, I turned him too close to the van door as I slammed it shut. I don't think I'll ever forget the noise it made as it bounced off of his fat little six month old hand. His gut wrenching cry still rings in my ear as I think about that day.

The bleeding started instantly. I ran frantically to the door and could barely talk because of the adrenalin and emotion I was feeling and experiencing. I don't know for sure, but I think Sarah may have been just short of slapping me before I finally calmed down. The reason I was there never escaped my mind. It just added to the mix of emotions. I was supposed to be helping HER. I was supposed to be comforting HER while she struggled with not knowing if she was going to see her husband again. But here I stood in her dining room holding my crying baby shaking and crying with him. She is the one who told me to go to the hospital. Don't worry about Stephen she said. Just go. You need to go. We'll be fine she said.

So I went. Crying and driving frantically.

The silence was the first thing I noticed. The eerie silence not normally heard in an Emergency Room. Distraction. Unprecedented distraction from the staff is what I felt. Never before, and most likely never again, will I ever have the experience of being rushed through an emergency room visit again. They didn't even process us. There is no record of our visit that day. We aren't even a memory in the eyes of those that saw us that day. I didn't know it at the time of arrival, but I soon found out that they were preparing for and awaiting the arrival of the masses that they thought would be arriving at any moment. They never came. Not the people in the Towers anyway. I'm sure they treated people that night and into the next day, but it wasn't what they hoped for. They weren't the survivors they hoped for. The monsters has been too victorious for that.

Other than two lacerations, Sebastian's hand was fine. I drove back to Sarah's house a bit more subdued. With my emotions a little more in check, I was able to, hopefully, be some sort of comfort to her at this time. I don't know. We've never talked about it.

When the second plane hit I called Brandon and asked him to please come home. That I was scared. That I needed him. He wasn't able and told me that I needed to calm down. That everything was going to be alright. He knew it wasn't, but he also knew he needed to be level headed. He did come home early that afternoon. His warehouse closed early that day.

The world quite literally stopped spinning in our part of the country. For days. The world was quiet. Scared. Angry.

But something was happening. We were different. People were more cautious. But more concerned as well. It brought us closer. It banded us together. There were so many lives lost that day that it didn't take six degrees of separation to connect us all to the Tragedy. The monsters may have taken from us that day, but they also gave us something in return. A feeling of unity. Unity that had, up until that day, been lost for a lot of us.

It is my hope and my prayer that those lives lost that day will never have been lost in vain. May we always remember. May we never forget.

One nation, under God.
With liberty, and justice for all.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow! Beautiful written, Beth.

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