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Wife. Mommy. Lover of cookies.

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September 11

Many of you know that you can look back and view the postings to the weblogs (both mine and Kev’s) on and following 9/11. I also think that Kevin had the right idea when he used his space as an online “diary”, which he is much more prone to do than I. I believe in keeping my thoughts more private (hard to believe, but true), but this time, I, too, am going to use this space to say a few words on the subject. It’s extremely hard to talk about, for many reasons, so I will also ask that if you read this, please do not ask me about it, argue about it, or even comment on it. These are my thoughts, and if you want to express yours, get your own blog.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, I was sleeping like a log. One of my very close friends was due to leave for France for 6 months, and I was on vacation from work. My life, which mostly never changes, was peaceful and happy. I had my dogs, a great family, and a terrific husband. I owned a house with a yard, a grill, and my own car. I had food on the table every night, and could afford to go out when I wanted. In short, I had more than 80% of people in the world (this is an actual statistic, by the way. How’s that to make you a little more grateful?). Shortly after 8:00 a.m., my phone rang. Of course, it woke me up, but since the answering machine is in my bedroom, I really couldn’t ignore it. The pillow-over-the-head trick only muffles so much. So I heard my friend’s voice :
“Merrin, I’m sure you’ve probably heard, but just in case, I’m not leaving just yet. Go turn on your TV”. What? Vaguely, and still sleeping (mostly) I squeezed one eye open and looked around. Then I listened. Hey, it’s Texas, and sometimes we can have pretty brutal storms. Nope, nothing outside. By this time, my dog was nudging me out of bed, so I stumbled into the bathroom, then to the sliding door to let the dogs out. Only then did I turn on the TV, just in time to see Diane Sawyer cringe as the second plane hit the WTC. Huh? Still not quite awake, I sank down to the floor and watched, in horror, the video loop over and over again. After 10 minutes or so, I picked up the phone and called Kev. He was at work; they were having orientation that day. He said he knew about it, but wasn’t sure if he was coming home early or not, but that he’d call me as soon as he knew. He really didn’t sound too upset, so I figured he hadn’t seen any footage. I mean, if he had, then he would be reduced to tears. I KNOW my husband, and I knew that this would have destroyed him. Turns out, he was doing what he always does when it comes to me: he was trying to keep me from seeing the bad stuff. You know, protecting me from the awful things happening. I watched TV for about an hour more, then I finally couldn’t take it anymore. I went to the grocery store, just to get out of the house and away from the horrible images. I called my Mom, my store, and anyone else I could think of. Suddenly, I had an overwhelming urge to tell everyone I knew that I loved them.
Then, the shock and anguish gave way to fear. I live next to a military base. Having grown up in West Ft. Worth, I never really gave it much of a thought until 9/11. The very absence of air traffic is what caused me to panic. See, I got used to the sound of jets flying low over rooftops, or C-130’s doing touch and go’s a really long time ago. When that sound stopped, I started to shake, literally. No planes? No way. The rest of that day, and most of the next, I remained braced. I didn’t know what to expect, and I just kept waiting for the next thing.
When Kevin finally got home that day, we sat glued to the television as if it were a lifeline. This was the first time in my lifetime that a world event was inescapable. No commercial breaks, no regular programming on TV or radio. You couldn’t even check your email without a reminder. I cried for a week without stopping, and I still cry when I think about that day. I cry for myself and my own fear, I cry for the thousands who died, I cry for the ones that lived, I cry for those who lost a loved one, I cry because that’s the only reaction I have left. Kev would laugh at me and say, “Yeah, but you cry at the Office Depot commercial.” That’s true, but on a very different level (besides, the husband buying the school supplies for his wife, the teacher, is simply too sweet).
Now, one year later, I, like all of you, have been besieged by tributes and memorials, and rememberances. Guess what? I really don’t want to relive that day. It devasted me enough once. I, and everyone I know, was forever changed by the events of 9/11. Aren’t you a little more cautious when you pack to go on a trip? Don’t you say an extra prayer before the plane takes off?
For those of you (and you know who you are) that say “This is nothing new”, or “I knew this would happen” in response to a heightened level of security today, aren’t you still going to look around a little more carefully at your surroundings tomorrow?
Having said that, I think it’s important that each of you take the opportunity to remember and reflect in the way you are most comfortable. If it means turning off the television and playing a video game (in my case, for the last solid week), then that’s ok. You don’t have to justify it. I won’t even talk to my husband about this. It still hurts both of us too much, because we think of the families, and we know what we could have lost. So, tomorrow, please don’t call me. I’m going to have enough trouble getting through the day, without more reminders of the possibilities of losing people I love. And that’s what your voice is: a reminder. For most, a loved one’s voice is a more powerful memorial than anything CNN can broadcast. And for a few, it would be worth everything they own just to be able to hear it.

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