9/11 Five Years Later. Five years ago, nothing in the entire world was more important to me than my friends and family and serving the community in a career I loved.
I was taught the lesson at a young age, life was short and you have to make the most of it. My father died at the age of 44 on September 5, 1989. Four short months earlier we buried my grandmother, with no hint that my father was dying of cancer. Only a few months later, he was gone.
Obviously this shaped my life experiences, I knew I wanted to make sure that every moment counted…that I wasn’t stuck someplace I would regret if my life took a serious turn.
It wasn’t until 9/11/2001 that this lesson was solidified. I didn’t know anyone in NYC or DC or on Flight 93. I know people who know people who died that day, but I was personally removed from this terror. I left law school that day, terrified. After getting home to my apartment I called everyone I knew, just to say I loved them. I called my boyfriend desperate to have him home with me comforting and protecting me from the constant images on the TV screen. The boyfriend chose to stay at work in the HSBC towers to complete his brief in case court was open the next day. It was then that I knew, I needed to make a significant change in my life. I was not living my life the way I wanted.
I stayed home, transfixed by the hatred and the sadness and the images…for days, the first time I felt safe enough to leave the house was for the candlelight vigil in Niagara Square. And slowly, life came back around to normal. Normal, in that totally different normal way.
I broke up with the boyfriend. I switched out of my overnight position at work and took a coordinator position instead. I ended up withdrawing from law school classes later that semester, and the next.
And I started making my life one that I WANTED. I needed. One where I could serve others and make a difference. One where I was surrounded by friends and family who loved me for who I am.
Five years later, a lot has changed…I’m where I want to be, now. Life is precious and fragile and can be changed in a brief instant. My 9/11 story is wholly mine, an internal struggle to understand the world around me and my place among the many.
I grieve with our country and the rest of the world, hearing the stories again makes me feel uneasy. I remember. We all remember. I wish it wasn’t blanketed all over the media…I wish everyone could look inward and find peace and love for one another on this day. I’m not sure that the constant bombarding of sounds and sights are necessary…but if it helps people deal with their grief…well, I guess I will just keep the radio and TV off today. I remember.