Prior to September 11, 2001, New York City, New York~
Jeff and I had been married for four years. We had two tiny children to raise: three-year-old Katya Josephine and one-year-old Jeffery Michael, Jr. My husband was a cop; as for me, I was a busy stay-at-home mother who cherished her children (and husband) deeply.
Jeff was one of the best cops on the force. He did his job well; he tried his best to uphold the law and help those who were truly in need, while, at the same time, he did his best to capture the bad guys and put them into jail. He had a wonderful support system in not only myself, but his brother cops. They were almost like his second family; I knew a lot of the guys (and gals) from when he'd bring them home for a picnic or some other get-together.
Life was good. It couldn't have been any better. We were indeed blessed. Very much so.
September 11, 2001, New York City, New York~
Jeff had left for work around six in the morning. It promised to be a gorgeous late summer day: no clouds, just wall-to-wall sunshine, delightful temperatures that signalled summer's end. Fall would be arriving just a little over a week from now. The day held much in the way of promise and expectation.
Little Jeffrey Michael greeted the day an hour later. He was crying. I changed his diaper (he was soaked) and gave him his bottle. I then chuckled at his big sister: Katya was burrowed underneath the covers, snoring like a bear. All you could see of her was her bright-red hair poking out from underneath the bedclothes. Nothing else. I then got the kids their breakfast and watched them as they ate while I poured myself a cup of coffee.
Around eight forty five, the news broke in with a developing story. Apparently, a plane had struck the North Tower; the building was now on fire and rescue personnel were quickly rushing to the scene. Not even a half hour later (roughly around 9:02/9:03 a.m.), a second plane flew into the South Tower. Literally FLEW into the building in a terrifying ball of orange flames. It appeared to be deliberate. At first the news reporters was saying that it was an accident, but I knew immediately that it was no "accident". It was an attack. A terrorist attack.
There were probably people who had been killed or at least mortally wounded. There was no possible way that nobody could have survived such a violent blast.
Around nine thirty, I was shocked to see the one tower collapsing. It was literally falling onto itself in a cloud of ash and smoke. Whoever was in the building were surely going to be killed, I remember thinking. I instinctively covered my children's faces with my hands, so they wouldn't see the carnage unfolding on the television screen. I quickly whispered a prayer for Jeff, begging God to keep him safe from harm as he helped the victims.
Then the other tower fell. Soon the air was nothing but a cloud of smoke and ash; there were also things still ablaze: the fires would probably go on for a long while, I remember thinking to myself.
I started to weep. My daughter looked at me with a look of confusion on her small face; as for the baby, he wanted nothing more than to get down so he could go play with his toys. He was too little to know the scope of the disaster that was unfolding.
I waited all day for Jeff to return home from his beat. He usually got home between five/six in the evening. One hour passed. No sound of Jeff's car pulling into the parking garage. Then two. still no sign of Jeff. Probably was still working hard to assist the injured victims, I thought. I whispered a quick prayer to God, to bring my husband safely home, but I think my prayers must have fallen on deaf ears. Jeff didn't come home.
He didn't come home the next night or the night after that. Or the nights following. That was when I started to get worried. Very worried. I started thinking that maybe something happened to my husband. I grew very frightened.
After September 11, 2001~
I tried to be positive, hoping that Jeff would be okay, but then came the terrible call about a week later. Apparently, Jeff's body was found amidst all the rubble. He did not survive. He was dead. It was the worst possible thing that could have ever happened to me ... or the children, who were now left without a daddy. And I was left without my husband. I was now a widow.
I remember very little of the funeral. I only remember people coming up to me and saying how sorry they were about my loss. I remember them bringing food or cash donations. I told them the money wasn't necessary, but they insisted. "The children need it", they told me. "And you do too, especially now in the weeks, months, and years to come".
I also remember feeling cheated. Violated. Vulnerable. I didn't even go to the one-year anniversary. Or the next. Or the ones after that. To be reminded once again of what was stolen away from me by those no-account bastards was too real and painful. I didn't want to deal with the memories, which were still all too fresh in my mind. I put it all deep inside and locked the memories away forever in the secret place.
Almost ten years later, September 2011~
Soon we will be observing the ten-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on America. Over 3,000 innocent lives were snuffed out by terrorists. Twin towers no longer stand on guard over New York City; the City looks strangely empty without the towers gracing the skyline. All that is left is a memorial ... and a lot of broken hearts as people are forced yet again to remember what took place nearly ten years ago.
My children are no longer little. Jeffrey, Jr., is now a tall, strapping 11-year-old who is the spitting image of my late husband. And as for Katya Josephine, she is now a teenager: she turned 13 years old iin April. She stays busy by playing softball and soccer and hanging out with her little teenaged friends, enjoying all the things that teenagers find comfort in. They are beautfful, gifted, talented young people.
They stil ask about their father, not to mention the events of that day. I still don't have all the answers. Don't think I ever will. And I still suffer from panic-attacks or nightmares from the images that are imprinted on my memory forever. I see a counsellor about my September 11, 2001-induced memories, but I don't really see it doing any good. I still suffer great pain and a sense of loss. I don't think I will ever completely "get over it".
You can't get over losing your husband that easily. Something like that will remain with you until you die or until Jesus comes back (whichever happens first).
I am trying to forgive the terrorists who did this, but it's not easy. Yet I know, as a Christian, I have to or else Jesus won't forgive ME. So I try to do as He would want me to do. It's one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I still have bad days where I want nothing more than to rage at them or wish death or suffering on THEM for what they took from me.
Well, I am going to go to bed. It's getting late. I have to get the kids to bed so they can get to school in the morning (and so I can go to work). Just keep me in your prayers; I am having a hard time as the memories/nightmares come back with a vengeance. I would greatly appreciate it!
May we never forget! I know I won't. I CAN'T. God help us all and may God have mercy on America (and her people) as we remember that horrible day once again!