Wednesday, September 11, 2013

My 9/11

Today my friend at work asked me what my 9/11 story was.
This is what I told him.
9/11, started for me, on May 1, 2001. My husband died in a car accident on the Garden State Parkway, coming home from work. Hands down the worst experience of my life and that, as they say in the south, is puttin' it mighty mild.
 2 months later my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.
 Her birthday was 9/11.
I had dropped my 7 year old daughter off at school that day in September. I had taken a leave of absence from my job as a substitute teacher. If you can specialize when you're a sub, I did, I taught special ed.
My husband had died without a will, as I am sure, a lot of people who lost their lives on 9/11.
 I had to go to court to be named Executrix of his estate. It's an expensive proposition and time consuming, which is why I had taken time off from work.
I got a phone call on the morning of 9/11, from my best friend telling me to turn on the T.V. That was the moment when I saw the one tower burning and the 2nd hit, that I thought I had lost my sanity.
A few hours later I got a call from the school I subbed for, asking me to come in. One of the teachers I regularly subbed for, who had a class of mainly autistic kids, her father was in one of the towers.
Even though I wasn't sure I was ready to walk back into a classroom after my loss, it was something I had to do. She wasn't there when I went in. She had already left to go to go to her family.
They never found her father.

 Many times when I would have to inform someone of my widowed status after 9/11 (there are a lot of nosy people), people would ask if my husband died on 9/11. They would act like it was a big relief that he didn't die on that horrible day. I guess they were right. Didn't make it any less painful though.
 For me May 1, 2001, was my personal 9/11.
Unfortunately the journey I had already started, was going to be a journey, the teacher I subbed for and so many others, were just beginning. Only magnified in a way I can't even imagine. Death leaves a hole in your life that can never be filled. 12 years later I still feel it. Who can ever forget?


  1. I remember my mother finding out that an aquaintance with cancer had just died. My mother herself had leukemia, and that's the last thing she needed to hear on September 11, 2001.

    Shock is relative.

  2. I takes a lot of courage to write such a heartfelt post. It was a bad year for all of us.

    1. The worst year EVER. Thank you for the compliment. RIP to all our loved ones.

  3. Thank you. You have my gratitude for this post. Here's why:

    Less than three years ago, the woman I loved (referred to in some very occasional posts as "the Crank's beautiful girlfriend") died unexpectedly. I still ache for her. I still have "conversations" with her. I still have intense flashbacks of our days together, and of her last days, in a hospital intensive care unit.I still cry over her loss. Your simple line, "12 years later I still feel it," lets me know that I'm not going through some kind of freak cohabitation with a ghost of my own creation.

    Indeed, losses of loved ones can and often do create – you used the right words – unfathomable empty spaces. Thank you for letting me know I am not the only person lost in that space.

    The New York Crank

  4. You are not lost Crank, you just took a detour. You will be ok. But you will never be the same. No one ever tells you that but it is true. Hugs Crank. Be well, Patricia