i am sure there will be no shortage of 9.11 blog entries written today. and while my story is not particularly special or exciting, it was still an incredibly important day for me just as it was for everyone else who remembers it, and i think it's important to take the time to revisit the experience.
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It was my senior year of college. i was in williamstown, massachusetts, having finished up some early morning rat experiments (shudder) on a crisp fall tuesday and still remember walking down the street, not having heard yet -– but noticing that something was OFF. on the tiny town’s one main street, people seemed to be whispering about something that i only heard muddled pieces of. It wasn’t until i arrived at the pretty white house i shared with 6 other girls (and, unfortunately, my ex-boyfriend and his new girlfriend – not recommended) and found everyone sitting rapt in front of the tv, looks of horror upon their faces –- that I finally saw what was going on. by then, both planes had already crashed into the twin towers and our lives as we knew them had changed.
even in the tiny peaceful new england town where we were living, nothing felt safe anymore. i was terrified for my family – after all, philadelphia was only 2 hours from new york! i kept thinking -- what if nuclear weapons were already on their way to follow the plane explosions? and i felt deceived! how could i have thought we were safe all these years when all it takes is one misguided person with a decent plan to hurt so many, so quickly?
no one ever noticed the peace and security we all took for granted until it was gone. at least, I didn’t.
that night, my housemates (friends that I still miss very much today) and i decided that an impromptu lasagna dinner party was in order. we banded together and cooked and drank red wine to drown our feelings of confusion and fear. i think we made brownies. warmed by the wine and our italian feast i remember thinking about just how much i valued my friends and my family. i realized that with life being so fragile, that enjoying these moments was a privilege not to be underestimated. in fact, it was really what everything was about.
i still consider life to be a privilege. every day when i wake up to greet another morning, and i still have my health, my wonderful husband, my family, and a job I (usually) love – it’s something to be truly thankful for, and i AM. life’s little annoyances -- being tired sometimes, drama in the PICU, not always fitting in everything i want to do, or my house not selling – these things pale in comparison to what really matters.
there were people who lost their lives 7 years ago, and many others who lost everything that mattered to them as their loved ones were taken unexpectedly. It’s completely unfair, but instead of losing i gained –- in learning this important lesson at a very impressionable age. we are vulnerable, and life is finite and tenuous -- yet that’s the reason each day is a gift.
i'll try to keep remembering.