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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

When the World Stopped Turning

This morning I got in the car to drive to work
and within one minute, tears were streaming down my face.

On a blue-sky sunshiny day, I was caught off guard by a song that began to play on the radio.

"Where were you when the world stopped turning,
that September day..
Did you stand there in shock at the sight of that black smoke
rising against that blue sky?"

As I allowed the words to sink in and take me back to that time and place
eight years ago, I was overcome by the sadness, fear and grief
of that day and the year that followed.

"Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family,
Thank God you had somebody to love?"

At the time, I was the mom of two young children ages 6 and almost 3.
Kate and Chris were at their school and preschool, respectively.
I was also stretched and swollen with life.
I was three months shy of delivering my third child.
As I watched in utter horror, my unborn child stretched and flexed inside me.

I remember being so torn.
Do I pick up my children? Do I leave them at school and some semblance of normalcy?
How could I bring a child into this world of senseless violence and hate?
I wrapped my arms around my belly and attempted to rock and soothe my baby and myself.

"Did you burst out in pride for the red, white and blue,
The heroes who died just doing what they do."

For months afterward, the shock and fear lingered.
I felt as though my throat was clogged with tears constantly
and at every sighting of the American flag at an overpass
or the beginning notes of Alan Jackson's or Lee Greenwood's songs,
tears would freely flow.

"Why are you crying, Mommy?" my children would ask
and I couldn't decide how to tell them about bad men
and airplanes crashing from the sky and buildings collapsing
on Daddies, Mommies and innocent children.

"Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened,
Close your eyes and not go to sleep?"

I remember how much I wanted to protect my children
and how I learned at that moment that the only child I could protect was the one I was carrying in my womb.
I wished I could keep him there, safe, until I felt safe again myself..
but I wasn't sure when that would be.

In many ways, life has returned to normal
but I don't think it will ever be normal like it was before.
All of us lost an innocence that day,
that blue-sky sunshiny day in September.

"Faith, hope and love are some good things he gave us
and the greatest is love..
The greatest is love."

1 comment:

Natalie said...

I'll never forget September 12, 2001--it was the first time after 9/11 that I heard our National Anthem. I just stood there and cried.