9-11-01: Eleven years ago today our son was in the second week of his freshman year of high school, our daughter a fourth grader, their grandma marked her 83rd year of life and the world we all depended on ended.
Battery Park: I heard the news on the radio driving back from a walk in the park with the dog. I raced into the house to switch on the television at the same moment I heard my niece’s voice on the answering machine, calling from her family’s Battery Park apartment. I grabbed the phone. A thick coat of something was covering their windows and my brother-in-law had turned around on his walk to the dry cleaners on his way to work, when folks running away from the first tower’s bilious smoke warned him to venture no further. Our phone connection broke off. I felt sick.
Shared Panic: My first patient was already in the waiting room. Her niece was living in an NYU dorm way downtown. We rung our hands together and decided to abort the session. Later she kindly called to inform me that she had heard Battery Park was to be evacuated by tugboats. No longer able to reach my niece by phone, I emailed that news hoping somehow she would receive it. She did, her laptop still had some remaining battery power.
Our family was evacuated to Liberty State Park. Within days we learned that an alumnus from our high school, his wife and two-year-old daughter died on one of the planes. Two years later we learned that the brother of the owner of our daughter’s special needs camp, which she hadn’t as yet attended, was amongst the heroes on the plane that went down in a field in Pennsylvania.
A Visit To Ground Zero: I forced myself to go to Ground Zero shortly after the tragedy but I have no recollection whether it was a week or ten days later. All reports are true. Fumes, sirens. I witnessed a fire at the site and wrenching notes and faces of the missing were plastered everywhere. All our hearts were pierced and remain so today. Most of all, our children’s world and our role as their parents took one of those historic turns that sociologists and psychologists will study for eons to come.
In Memory Of All Whose Lives Were Stolen Eleven Years Ago Today: And in honor of their loved ones who have had to develop the courage to face each new dawn without them. We are with you today and every day. Everyone knows that any one of us could be you.
© Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2012