Sunday, September 11, 2011

Personal Memory of 9-11

Ten years ago started out as just a typical day. I was a fifty-year old college student. When the alarm went off I hit the snooze and laid in bed with tears rolling off my cheeks into my ears and onto the pillow. School had barely started and I was already so physically weak, exhausted beyond belief, and with the now familiar constant searing pain all over my body, it was a challenge to get out of bed, let alone make it to the bus stop to get to class.

I'd adjusted the alarm to allow myself a good half hour to forty-five minutes of snooze tapping so that I could slowly stretch out some of the pain before I even attempted to get out of bed. I also needed that time to psyche myself up for meeting the challenge of another difficult day--hopefully with a smile on my face. No need to bring other people down, right?

I remember thinking in the shower and as I dressed how this year I was already physically worse than last year...and how, since I couldn't take less than a full load at Concordia (private school), that maybe I really should look into MSUM (public college) for next year so that I could have a lighter class load...then maybe I would feel much better and things would turn around for me.

Hobbling a little less, standing a little taller, I headed for the living room. Glancing out the window to assess the morning, I clicked on the TV so I could check the weather channel prediction before I packed up my books and decided on how many layers and which coat or jacket to wear. Remote in hand, I stood a few feet in front of the TV and waited for the screen to come on so I could punch in the weather channel.

What appeared on the screen was the picture of the first tower smoking against the blue sky. What?! The announcers were wondering what had happened. I watched and waited with the rest of the world. But then a plane disappeared into the other tower...erasing all doubt.

At that moment, I remember an almost physical sensation of this monstrous wave of black fear energy instantly radiating and spreading outward from the towers--even before they fell. It felt like the blast from an atomic bomb--knocking people backwards. My first thought was--No! I closed my eyes. Don't let this do that to you! I felt like I wanted to wrap my arms around everybody! Tell them--Don't be afraid. Please! Please! Hold onto the light! Choose the light!

This lifting sensation gradually came over me. My entire body buzzed and tingled. I stood, eyes closed--even the sounds from the TV faded away--and this core of calm took hold of me. A vision of waves of dark energy spreading across the earth like ripples on a pond increased in power as the initial fear and shock of the people gave birth to raw panic, anger, and hatred. I stood.

As I spread my arms I felt my heart open so wide it was my whole being. Waves of this love energy began to wash over me...or through me...or from me...I don't know. But suddenly I realized...I wasn't alone. It was as if I could see rays of bright lights all over the world...reaching out...almost as if we were holding this lace blanket of light covering the earth...

[I had to stop writing because just remembering this reduces me to tears...because it breaks my heart that so many people are still washed in that fear.]

Anyways, I stood in my living room like that for an hour (felt like a couple minutes). Never moved. Never felt my body. Only felt attached by energy to all those other people...radiating white light...the waves of love reaching outward. Never felt so connected to the light, to love, to humanity. And then it slowly subsided. I opened my eyes...was still holding the remote in my hand. They were replaying and replaying that they will probably do again today. I won't watch.

Horrible things happen all the time. It's not what has happened to us, but how we choose to live through it and what we take away from it that determines who we are.

I have never had an experience like that before or since. But 9-11 changed my life in an unexpectedly positive way. Our choices do matter. They do make a difference. We are not alone.

We have chosen.

We are already holding hands somewhere in that dark blanket or in the light blanket.

But we have the gift of free will.

And we can change our minds whenever we choose.


Toriz said...

What a beautiful story... Thank you for sharing it!

Such an awful thing to have happen!

My story isn't as nice... I was worried about the couple of online friends I had in America at the time, but that's about it. I was 16, and the USA still felt so far away that I guess it felt like as long as I didn't know anyone that was directly affected then it didn't effect me at all. I was wrong, but that seems to be basically what I was thinking. It isn't what I think now, but it's what I thought at the time... :(

Rita said...

Thanks, Tori. I think it normal to think of people you know and love first in any crisis. Living in Minnesota, I didn't personally know anyone in New York, either. It was really hard on the people who did and lost loved ones. You were only 16, after all. :):)

Toriz said...

True... I still feel kind of bad that I didn't give much thought to all the people who did lose loved ones or lose their lives that day though!

Rita said...

Tori--Forgive yourself your youth. ;)

carol l mckenna said...

Great philosophy you have ~ powerful writing ~ enjoy the day ~ namaste, Carol ^_^

Rita said...

Thanks so much, Carol! :):)

Desiree said...

This is immensely powerful...totally gripping! This single piece has revealed a lot of who you are and what you stand for, Rita. I feel privileged to have met you as I do, Dee! You are both amazingly strong and courageous women!

Rita said...

Thanks so much, Desiree! I find Dee inspirational. Yes, this tells you about who I am at core level. ;)

Friko said...

Hello Rita,

Thank you for following my blog.

I am not much of an artist but I very much enjoy good writing; this is excellent, so I have decided to read what you say here. I'll pop over and see what you do on your other site too.

Glad to know you.

Rita said...

Thanks, Friko! I am glad we connected, too! I hope you enjoy my memories scattered here. :):)

Crazy Life of a Writing Mom said...

What a beautiful thought: "Horrible things happen all the time. It's not what has happened to us, but how we choose to live through it and what we take away from it that determines who we are."

Rita said...

Thanks so very much, Elisa. :)

Anonymous said...

Wow I remember doing the same thing that morning. I had just dropped off my kid at the school bus and came home to get ready for school myself. I walked into the the living room just as the second tower got hit and fell. My experience was a little different as we are a military family. We knew the call would come. In fact if you keep reading I describe that Christmas in a couple of days on my blog. Thanks for coming over. Dee is such a darling!
Will be following.

Rita said...

Yes, Melynda, I most definitely plan to keep reading your blog and want to hear about what happened in your life that Christmas. Thanks for stopping here in my stories blog!! :)

A Plain Observer said...

I love all the points you make. Yes, we do have a choice to make with our free will.

Rita said...

Thanks so very much, Myriam. So glad you stopped by. I peeked at your blog and was impressed--now using my free will to follow you. LOL! ;)

Unknown said...

Rita - you are the winner of The Golden Sky. Could you please email your email?

Thanks and Congrats! Donna

Rita said...

Donna--Thanks so much! I will email you my address. :):)

Sandi said...

This was such a powerful piece of writing. I never turn the TV on in the morning, but my husband had called me to tell me to turn it on that day and it must have been at almost the same time you did. I was just about ready to drive myself and my daughters to school. I was 51 and a very recent college graduate, and had just begun teaching that September.
We all showed up at school, and I remember meeting tear filled eyes with my own through out that day.
But, you are right. It's what we do about tragedy that changes us, not the tragedy itself. We have a choice.

Rita said...

Sandi--We're about the same age. I was 50 that year. Funny--I was in college at the time and you had recently graduated.

Yes. It's what we learn and how we go on. Life is always about choices. True. True.

So happy you stopped by. :)

graceonline said...

I never turned the TV on in the morning back then. I was getting ready for work, but that morning, I kept thinking I should turn on the TV. I resisted the urge ferociously, doggedly completing my morning rituals. My daughter, whose United plane was to leave (so I thought at the time) DC at 8 am called just as I stepped from the shower.

"Where are you? Aren't you supposed to be in the air right now?"

"Do you know what's happened Mom?"

"No, What?"

"Both World Trade Towers have collapsed. They've been bombed. We're in Kansas City. We don't know why they landed our plane here, but federal marshals boarded the plane after they rushed us off. We're trying to get another flight, but they're telling us all the planes in the country are grounded."

All I could think of at that moment was that those two buildings house thousands more people every day than lived in the town in which my daughter grew up. Gone? All of them gone? Just like that?

Only later, when I heard about the planes, when I learned that one of them was bound for San Francisco from DC, left DC at 8 am, did I understand why I so desperately did not heed the impulse to turn on the TV that morning. I don't know if I'd have lived through the shock of seeing that plane, the plane I would have believed carried my daughter and her fiance, hit that building.

I will never understand why the World Trade Center buildings (Four of them before our own people finished demolishing the others? Seven?) went down that day, or how fortunate it was that fewer than 4000 people died instead of the 20,000 some who might have another day, or why those people had to die, and their families suffer so dreadfully.

I will never understand the purpose of evil. You set an example for us with this post: To reach out and become one of the pillars of healing energy, arms open wide.

May I somehow understand better how to be this person, how to open myself to the love that there be no room for the evil.

Deepest gratitude to you. This appears to be your last entry. I can only pray there will be more.

Rita said...

KathrynGrace--Yes, it was good you didn't know until after you knew they were safe.
I guess I think of evil as our own making--human beings. We were given free will and creativity and that is what some humans have chosen to do with it. Usually some variation of fear has a lot to do with it.
Love. We need more love down here. ;)
I'd love to have you check out my other blog, too.

Jenny Woolf said...

Rita, I tried to visit your Soulcomforts Corner site as usual but I got a flash from Google saying that it contains material on it from an Australian site that is infected with Malware. It could infect computers who read the blog. This site is

I'm not quite sure how you can deal with this but first thing may be to get rid of whatever item you have imported from

I hope you can get it fixed, I have enjoyed reading your blog for a long time now. Jenny

Far Side of Fifty said...

Yes what Jenny said..just wanted to leave you the same message:)

Rita said...

Jenny & Connie--Thanks! I worked with a blogger help tech half the day yesterday (Fri) and I thought it was fixed. Now today I got an email from a different help tech who said it was fine on explorer but the warning still showed up if you were using Chrome. I'm going to still see if Dagan can check my laptop for bugs to be on the safe side. I just don't know what to do. I certainly don't want anyone else getting anything from me! I think I might go on hiatus for a while.

I would miss you guys, too!!! Thanks!! :):)

stephen Hayes said...

I always feel inspired by people's stories of 9/11. Yours is certainly inspiring and I know I'll be thinking about it for the rest of the day. I wrote down my feelings in a post on 9/10/11 called The 9/11 Generation. I'd just started my blog and didn't get any comments, but you might find it interesting.

Rita said...

Stephen--I did go and read your post and comment. Thanks so much for coming by my stories blog. Just found your blog and you're a hoot! :)