Late summer mornings on the meadow have a beauty all their own. As I listen to somewhat melancholy music on a rainy Friday morning, I treasure these moments before fall arrives. The kitties are all fast asleep; Tommy and Bitty curled up on the sofa nearby; Hobo in his little house on the deck.
This is the 14th anniversary of 9/11. Such a time to remember. Obviously contributing to my sad and remembering mood. I miss Derrick intensely on this day, remembering his reaction as a third grader. I always wonder if that somehow contributed to his decision to serve as a Marine. To make a difference in the way he thinks best.
I was working at the college then. Somewhat early in my career there. Sitting in the office as per normal that morning. Lori, my sister called. She was living in Arizona at the time. She told me what had happened, watching the morning news as her family readied for school and work. At nearly the same time, a colleague’s husband called with the same news. The word spread quickly through the office. Some of the team decided to go to one of the classrooms they had heard were watching as the horror unfolded, as part of an unexpected change in the syllabus.
Thinking it was my obligation to let our supervisor know where the team was, I knocked on his door and went in. He was working on a project with the door closed that morning and I knew he was busy. We had the understanding I would always inform him as I deemed necessary if something came up. Who would ever think it would be something like that? I remember telling him about it, and the look on his face. A peace maker, I wasn’t certain what his reaction would be. Shock, but also an almost disbelief in what I said. Almost a dismissal, something I never saw in him before, or since.
There were plans for me to leave around lunch that day. I had to take Derrick to a doctor appointment. I was thankful to be able to pick him up, knowing that I would be the one to tell him about the news. In times like that, we all long to be with the ones we love most. He was full of questions. We had left his dad earlier that year and were living on our own in our little town. He was concerned, even at that young age, about where another likely target for terrorists would be. He thought about our county court house, the schools. As any mother would, I assured him I thought we were safe, tucked away in our rural Indiana community. All the while thinking about the mothers unable to assure their children the same.
The days that week unfolded in a surreal fashion. I couldn’t bear to watch the television as most people did. Still, the visuals are etched into my memory. There was a community gathering in the high school, lead by church leaders in the community. The place was packed. As I went into the building, a formation of F-16s from the local Air National Guard flew overhead, breaking the silence of the sky without any flights allowed that week. There were several gatherings for discussions of the college community, held in various locations on campus. I went to one, lead by some of the professors and administrators, my supervisor being one. A student that worked for me in the office and babysat for Derrick nearly fainted. I helped her out into the cool air outside the meeting place. We held each other, crying.
Each year on the anniversary, when Derrick was still at home with me, we would light candles in the evening and say a prayer of rememberance. Always, the realization of that morning returned to me as if a movie was playing in my mind, putting me right back to those moments. My heart aches with the feelings stirred by things read on Facebook, seen on the Internet wherever we turn today.
As T and I have reconnected after all these years, we’ve talked and shared our memories of that fateful day. He says he has always remembered that it was me who told him about the news. Knowing him all the better now, I understand his reaction. Masked pain. It gives me an incredibly poignant feeling that even in all the years between that morning and our present life, our memories of that morning are intertwined.
The misty mornings of the meadow are part of our joined lives now. Blending our souls in love and joy. The realization that it can all change in a moment. That the only moment we have is the glorious moment of now.