What I learned from the 9/11 Attacks

Crying. That was the biggest part of my experience that day. Terror. They succeeded in engendering it in me that day. It was less than two years prior that I had lost my Az and now I feared losing our children to the madness that seemed to be spreading throughout the United States that day.

It was a horrifying experience to sit in that call center, surrounded by people with whom I was not familiar, people that I had only heard about from my husband when my beloved Az had worked there before his death. I had recently joined the company, in part, to be close to those who shared so much of his time those last few years and was several months into my new employment with the national company on the fateful day.

I felt Az’s presence as I walked the halls and aisles every day, so I was already sensitized to and in tune with death on a daily basis. Touching a doorknob or standing in areas where I knew he had stood were draining as my focus engaged, but helped me feel close to him, as I still felt his energy strongly in those places.

photoforward-exhibition-honors-9-11-heroesNow, already on edge, sensitized, and aware, I was trapped at work 40+ miles away from my children and knowing that more than 1,500 miles away from us, people were dying in circumstances that were unpredictable and no one knew how widespread the terror would ultimately become before it ended. The terror started 1,500 miles away, then, less than an hour later it was only 1,300 miles, a horrifying jump in such a short time. Add to that, they were using planes. My first thought, I knew exactly how close I was to a major international airport, the third busiest airport in the world, since that is where Az and I met when we worked there, and I knew that airport stood between my sons and me.

When I look back now, I can still feel the feelings that I felt that day all too clearly. Mackay, the RMG manager who had been one of Az’s best friends at work, had chased me to the parking lot when I realized what was going on and fled to my car intending to drive like a mad woman to my sons. To say I was in a mindless panic would have been a gross understatement. He saw me bolt from my desk, run up the aisle and out the door. He was close on my heels. Stopping me, making me actually focus was a chore, I am sure. To this day, I do not remember leaving my desk. One minute I was sitting there watching in horror as the reports flooded in over the internet news sites about the planes and the next Mackay had hold of my right arm, which held my car keys while my left had my purse. His mouth was moving but what came out were not words, at least at that time my brain could not recognize them as such.

I finally came back to reality and heard him calling my name, over and over, telling me I was not safe to drive, that I would kill myself on the road and then the boys would be completely alone. That snapped me back to reality enough to realize that I was standing in the parking lot, bawling like a baby. He led me back in and since the calls had completely stopped coming in, the call center was eerily quiet for having 200 people in the same room.

911-libertyMackay set me up in a break room in front of a television and gave me a “make work” task to do. I called our beloved Nightshade, who was keeping the children for me, told him to immediately go and pick up our Roo from Kindergarten, take him and his twin brothers somewhere safe and I would call to find out their location when I was able to leave. Mackay came in to check on me frequently. Sitting in that room under the sometime watchful eyes of Mackay, I bore silent and tearful witness to the horrors of the day.

We all know what happened, now, or we think we do. So much is still unknown, will likely never be known for certain, about that day, why it happened, who was truly responsible, whether it could have been prevented.

As I said, the terrorist succeeded that day. Terror stretched across America and beyond. What they did not count on was the strength, the first-responders2resolve, and the love that they brought about that day, as well. People around the world joined with us to mourn. They joined with us to honor the memories of the victims. They joined us in praise and admiration of the first responders who gave their lives so willingly in the pursuit of trying to be the amazing men and women they were, the types of people who run into a building in crisis to save others.

Another thing the terrorists did was to teach me a very valuable lesson about who I am as an American. I am someone who has lost greatly, yet not given in. I learned that day that even in a blinding fear, I could still focus externally on the minutiae of a task, which serves no purpose, while internally I am casting spells and doing energy work to try to heal others. I am someone who has decided that no matter what the threat, I will try to live each day joyously as if there is no tomorrow because I may not have a tomorrow. I learned that the world is a much smaller place that I had believed before and that we are all connected and it is our duty to help those in need in our global community, just as they helped us so unexpectedly.

Before 2001, many Americans never considered that America could need the global community to help us. We were the ones who helped other nations when they were in need. We believed ourselves indestructible, inviolable. We were wrong. We are a nation like any other, some good, some bad, some beauty, and some ugliness combined, but we are made up of humans just as delicate and frangible as any other nations. We are a part of a global community; it is time we act like it.