September 11, 2001 was the most horrifying day I can remember. I was so far from my friends in New York. I didn't know if any of them or their families were near the Twin Towers. My cousin was in the Pentagon. I didn't know if he was okay.
I was so far away.
It happened in slow motion. On TV.
It felt unreal.
For many of my friends it was real. They ran. They watched in horror. They smelled it, heard it, felt it.
My cousin's office had been moved the day before- he was one of the "lucky" people in the Pentagon that had moved offices the day before the plane hit the exact spot where he had stood the day before.
I was awakened by my very soon to be husband who said "Hey- a plane crashed into the Twin Towers in New York-- you should watch it- I have to go--" he gave me a kiss and left. I turned on the TV and immediately watched the second plane hit.
It was unreal. On TV. Far away.
Like so many, I felt helpless and in shock.
But fourteen years later, one of things that bothers me is that I don't remember September 10, 2001.
I was getting ready to be married in a month.
The market was crazy.
I was stressed.
But I don't remember what I did.
I'm sure I went to work.
And the reason it bothers me is because it was the last day things were normal.
And I can't remember it.
My son who was born a year later, is writing a paper on stories from 9/11. It made me think about life "before."
He will never know how much fun it was to great people at the airport at the gate.
He has always removed his shoes before flying.
We have been at war his entire life.
He has never known peace.
And for the life of me, I cannot remember what I did the day before things changed.
What did peace feel like?
The rest of the world has war. Not us. That was something in history books. Parents came home from Vietnam and we were never going to war again. Love, Not War. No one thought we'd be attacked.
And honestly, for fourteen years, it feels as if no one even knows that troops are still deployed and in harms way. That the threat continues to be real.
That my children's lives- both of them- have never known anything else.
And I cannot remember what I did on September 10th.
I barely remember the before.
How can I share with them the vague memory of peace, if I can't remember it?
The helplessness stayed. I live around it.
It's the new normal of my psyche.
I always tell my children I love them as they leave for school- the school shootings reinforced this.
I kiss my husband every night, tell him I love and then a quick prayer of thanks- Thank you for everything I have- my family, my health and all the love in my life.
Because tomorrow if it's the freeway I'm driving on collapses, or the plane I board explodes or the hotel where I'm attending a meeting is where they decide to attack next, they'll know I love them.
That's all I can do.
I don't know that I did that on September 10th.
Because I can't remember before.