I Didn’t Intend to Buy a Pizza Today…

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This morning, on the 13th anniversary of 9/11, after a semi-long evening of caregiving the night before, I woke up without the alarm clock. The time showed it was minutes before the first plane hit the World Trade Center all those 13 years ago… I thought about it and said a prayer, and then drifted off to sleep for a few more minutes. When I woke up again, the clock read “9:11″…

After a morning and afternoon of watching news programs and remembering and crying all these years later, I realized this will stay with me forever, as it should for all of us…

Thirteen years ago, I had just gotten back from a month-long writing intensive in L.A. I woke up that day to get ready for grad classes, and turned the television on to see the beginning of the horror. My mom called me from work to tell me what had happened. We and everyone else were in shock. How could this kind of evil happen here in our very own country?

This evening, after running down the street to get my mom a smoothie on this hot day, I doubled back after seeing a little bird run across the hot pavement with his mouth wide open. I wasn’t sure if he was headed for food or if he was so hot he needed a drink of water. I tried to find him, but couldn’t. I tried to tell myself that he was one of the three starlings now finding food in the grass nearby.

As I started to leave, I noticed a sign with a good deal for a pizza. I didn’t intend to buy a pizza today, but I went with that leading.

Right after ordering, an elderly gentleman walked in and ordered that good deal too. We waited together, talking for 10 minutes. He had a kind heart and a slight stutter. He mentioned that he couldn’t believe it was 9/11 already again, and how much evil was in the world, and how great our country is. He talked about growing up with many siblings and that he was the 12th of 13 children. He asked if I had children, and then said he had one son … but that his son went Home to Heaven 12 weeks ago, after developing pneumonia after surgery… He talked about how his son loved music, loved to play music, and how he’s up there now making beautiful music with the Lord and the angels…

And then my pizza was ready. I started to talk more, but could tell he needed a break after he said, “You enjoy that pizza!” with a bright smile and misty eyes. We said good-bye and God bless you, and I left as his pizza was about ready.

Life keeps going…

Some of us are here for just a short time, some are here for decades… And we all leave in different ways…

That day 13 years ago, so many lost their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends, teachers, mentors… Roles ended, memories started… New York, D.C., Pennsylvania…

I know some people say we should just move on… That, since it was 13 years ago, the best way to honor the ones who were killed would be to live life to the fullest today.

On my walk, I saw people out running, kids playing baseball, people on their way home or to work or out to eat or the movies… And all under a brilliant, colorful sky with dark clouds too…

Those of us who are left have so much to be grateful for…

We’ll all have to leave sometime; our stay here is not forever…

Time is precious…

One of the stories I heard today was about a woman who was trapped in one of the elevators in the Twin Towers. She was rescued but died in the ambulance. She said she had an out-of-body experience and saw the workers, felt the peace, and was taken to Heaven, where she saw her grandparents and Jesus — and that Jesus told her she still had work to do on Earth, and she then went back into her body.

And then there was the story about finding the cross in the middle of the rubble… A sign of hope…

I want to work hard to turn my dreams/goals into reality here. Hopefully, by the time it’s my turn to leave, I’ll have accomplished my life’s mission.

And I hope no one ever forgets what happened that day. I don’t mean just having the knowledge that it happened, but that, in the middle of living life to the fullest every September 11, we’d all have a really strong sense of what occurred.

If we don’t, we should stop for a while and really remember… It’s hard. It’s gut-wrenching. But it’s necessary.

I’ll never forget. And I don’t want to forget.

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