We all have a 9/11 story. Where we were, how we felt, who we lost. Remembering is the way we honor those who died on that fateful day, those who have given their lives to protect us, those who miss loved ones we have lost along the way. My story is different.
My phone rang that morning with my mother letting me know a plane had hit the first tower. I worked at a restaurant and didn't typically get to bed until very late so was still sleeping when she called. Her friend's son-in-law was in the tower and Mom was rushing her home to pack and head to NYC so she could be with her daughter who was expecting their first child. Her son-in-law never made it home.
I spent the day like many of us - trying to get in touch with loved ones, watching the news, praying, hoping, being frightened. I was living in Boston and my house overlooked the harbor and Logan airport so I had a direct view of the emergency response. I had never felt so lonely or detached from my family. I say this in spite of the fact that I was living with my (now ex) fiancee.
To say I was in a destructive relationship would be a gross understatement but we should leave it at that. His reaction to the events of that day were cruel. Empathy was not an emotion he could feel. I finally admitted what I had been denying for so long because I was ashamed, too proud, scared what would come next... I admitted I needed my family and it was time to go home. And so, that night, I started packing.
Box by box, I hid them in my car. As much as I could hide without him noticing. And a month later, I left. A family friend's wedding being the excuse I needed to drive to my parents house. I'll spare you the gory details of what came next. Mostly because it is too painful to recount. But I got out. I survived.
So as I remember 9/11, I remember it with sadness and despair for all those lost. I also remember it as the catalyst for me to change my life. To say I am not living alone or in fear any longer. I can go home again.
Ten years later, I am writing this from the home I own, with two amazing sleeping pups by my side. I have a job that has been truly life changing. I have family and friends who support me no matter how good or challenging life becomes.
Yesterday I got to listen to my 84 year old Grandaddy talk about his service in the Navy and his careers after that. I spent last night toasting our patriotism at a Toby Keith concert under a full moon with my favorite person and today with my Bestie. There aren't words accurate enough to describe how blessed I am.
So all this is to say thank you. Thank you to those who have felt true hardship in their lives and had the courage to make a change for the better. Thank you for those who choose to fight for our freedom and protection. Thank you to all who have given their lives so I would have choices in mine.