Ten years ago today, there was a seven year old girl sitting in class. That seven year old was me, I didn’t know it at the time, and I probably wouldn’t have understood anyways, how much of an impact the 11th of September would come to have on my life.
On September 11th 2001 in New York city, the twin towers fell and 2,996 lost there lives, all over the world men and women lost their spouses and children would come home from school, or wake up in the afternoon and learn that mommy and daddy weren’t going to be coming home. For some it was just a normal day heading in to work, for others they were trying to save the lives of people stuck inside the towers and lost their own instead… and somewhere, 408 miles away from all of that, was an inconspicuous women, a women who for the past 9 months had been battling cancer.
That women was my mom. Who at the age of 39 was going through the most trying and difficult time of her life. My mom had spent the last eight months of her life preparing my fourteen year old sister and thirteen year old brother for the worst case scenario. There job wasn’t to go out and to have fun, but to help my dad look after me, a seven year old at the time, and my younger brother who was only four. It’s not what any teenager wants to do with their free time but they loved my mom and would do anything for her. I don’t remember much from the time that my mom was sick, but every now and then snipits from that time come back to me and I’m left wondering if it’s something I imagined.
On the 11th of september as the twin towers were falling my dad was driving my mom to her last chemotherapy appointment, something he had to drag her to every time because she hated how weak and sick it made her, and how every time afterwards she would sleep for hours and couldn’t play with me and my siblings, or help us with our homework, she hated that it robbed her of precious hours, and days, and weeks of her life – but at the same time she knew that it would provide her with the time that she needed, the time to see her kids grow up and reach high school, to watch my sister walk down the isle, or to see the birth of her first grandchild.
Seven year old me didn’t understand any of this, I understood that my mom was sick, and that I could give her hugs and they would make her smile, that for some reason that day some planes had crashed into a building and a lot of kids just like me had lost their mom, or their dad, or both. But in the end I was luckier then them, although I had to watch my mom suffer through her disease, she was able to beat it, to have her family and friends at her side during her weakest moments, and be able to pull through. On the 11th of September each year, I was older, and more conflicted, everyone was crying and sad and I shared in that feeling, for the people who lost their lives, but I wanted to scream and cry out in joy because it was another year that my mom was cancer free and able to watch my family grow up.
Now ten years later, approaching the age of 18, my mom has a clean bill of health and is ten years cancer free, but it has also been ten years since 2,996 lost their lives, ten years that some kid just like me, only 408 miles from here or maybe on the other side of the world has gone without there mom. Life teaches us lessons, and sometimes there things we don’t want to learn, when I was seven years old, I learned that life isn’t fair, and bad things happen to good people, but I also learned that we have to celebrate everyday that is given to us, and to not take anything for granted. To cherish everyone that is in our life, because we never how long they will be with us.
Nearly a decade has past and we still mourn the loss of the people who died on this day, but as the fates had it, my mom was not one of them. Today was a celebration, not one of death, or of loss… but of life.