Friday, September 11, 2009

Eight years

So much has happened in the last eight years. I lost my mom (to cancer, not because her homing device stopped working,) re-started my career not once but twice, got myself a shiny divorce, moved into a place that truly feels like home, made new friends, lost 70 pounds, learned to love Indian food, re-connected with old friends, became an aunt more times than I can honestly count, watched friends bury loved ones, said goodbye to a beloved dog and a somewhat beloved cat.

All of those are vivid memories, but none as vivid as the morning of 9/11.

It was my first day back at work after the honeymoon. I was filled with joy after spending a week and a half surrounded by love ... and then the news reports started coming in. "A plane hit the World Trade Center," my boss said, and I laughed. I had this picture in my head of a little Cessna, pilot error and foolish New York tourists. I was wrong.

The reports kept coming. Another plane struck another tower. The Pentagon was hit. And a fourth plane crashed in a Pennsylvania field. No one got any more work done that day. We could do nothing but watch and pray.

I called Patrick, who tried to reach Victor, our only New York connection, to make sure he was okay. It took us about a week to get word. And the pictures kept coming, the video kept rolling ... destruction at the hands of lunatics.

My mother remembered Pearl Harbor, and could describe the moment news reached the Midwest with such crystal clarity, you'd think it happened yesterday. I think it will be that way with 9/11 for me. When Michael Jackson died, some crackpot news announcer called it a "tragedy." And I thought, no, you tool, the death of one man by his own stupidity is not a tragedy. 9/11 was a tragedy. Hurricane Katrina was a tragedy. The 2008 Indian Ocean tsunami was a tragedy. These are events that touch us all, change us in one way or another.

And if nothing else, they serve as a reminder that you never really know. You can plan all day long for what your future will be, but none of us is guaranteed to live it. And so today, as I remember, I also look forward to spending time with the people I love. At the gym tomorrow, I will hug my friends. At my dad's house on Sunday, I will hug my family. Back home Sunday night, I will welcome my new temporary roomie and relish her company. Because life is short, love is amazing, and people have an uncanny way of making my life awesome.

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