In June of 1990, a month after we began dating, the Guv took me to the top of the World Trade Center, and, for the first of many times, he asked me to marry him. Seventeen years later, my life is complete because I said yes. Each day I have with him is a gift, something that was true even before the horrific events of 9-11.
Usually on this day, I avoid all news media. It’s not that I want to avoid remembering the tragedy that befell our nation that day; I just choose to remember it in my own way instead of in the way CNN wants me to remember it. Naively, I thought it’d be safe to check the blogs I read; and then, there it was, a discussion on a moms’ blog of whether we should continue to pay tribute to 9-11 or leave it in our past.
Me, I choose to remember. On that dreadful day, even after the planes had hit and no one knew what the heck was happening, the Guv was under strict orders to proceed as normal from his a?#hole boss and was en route to Newark airport to board a nonstop flight to Seattle. Meanwhile, our phone didn’t stop ringing. Friends who knew I stayed home with baby Petunia appointed me as home base for check-ins. Friends who escaped their WTC offices reported witnessing awful things. We did not speculate; we knew that some friends could not have escaped.
When I couldn’t take talking with one more person, and when I learned that the airport had closed and the Guv would return to work, I loaded Petunia into the car and drove to the beach. I had never been to the New Jersey shore, but I knew that if I drove East, I’d probably run into it. Reaching the ocean, Petunia was asleep, so I faced my car toward the deserted beach, stared at the ocean, and had a long talk with God. I have always been a woman of faith. I don’t proselytize, and I respect whatever beliefs or lack thereof others have… but I Believe. That day, more than any other, my faith held me together. I prayed for the many people who had died and for the families destroyed. I gave thanks for those who escaped. I prayed for the rescue workers missing and in action. I asked for strength for the leaders who needed to restore order. And I found myself riddled with survivor’s guilt when I gave prolific thanks for the life of my husband, who should’ve been on a plane that morning. For a long time after that day, I got physically sick when he traveled. But then, we can live in fear, or we can live. I live, and I remember, and I always will.