Sunday, September 11, 2011

Forever Changed

(This is how I still picture the NY skyline in my mind. When I fly home and the towers are no longer there, NY just doesn't look complete.)

Most adults can pretty clearly remember what they were doing the morning of September 11, 2001. They can remember when they first heard of a plane flying into a tower.

For me, this was a day my life was changed in more ways than one.

I was attending BYU in 2001 and Matt and I had been married for a little over a year. Matt was at work that morning. I had woken up and hopped in the shower. I always have the radio on while I get ready in the morning. After I turned the water off and was getting myself ready, my brain registered that the radio DJ had said a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. I grew up in NY about an hour away from the city. My high school friends were now attending college in the city. Parents of my friends worked there. So I was horrified and confused as to how a plane could crash into the tower. Then they mentioned a second plane had crashed. That's when it hit me: This was no accident. I had to sit down. I can still remember the feeling, the shock. I still get that same pit, that same dropping feeling in my stomach, when I see pictures and hear stories of this day.

I had classes to go to, so in a daze I continued to get ready and head to campus. Everyone was walking around shocked. Every TV on campus was surrounded by students watching the news. No one could look away.

I'm greatful that my family is safe, and that I didn't know at that time that my dad was coming home from a business trip in Boston (where one of the planes had taken off from).

The rest of the day was spent watching everything unfold on TV. I had no idea there were these terrorists out there, that our country could ever be in this kind of danger.

Despite the overwhelming news of this day, my brain, my body and my emotions still knew that my life could be changed in another way. The tragic day could not push out the thoughts that my family was about to change. Matt was half asleep on the couch watching the news while I took the test. He had no idea...I was pregnant.

This was also the day that I found out I was going to be a mother. I told Matt - probably not the best time. Information overload for him, I think. It took him a day or two to register this announcement. So far, the best and the worst day of my life.

When this all happened, Matt was in the process of applying to medical schools. Before this happened, he already had an interview set up at USUHS (Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences - the military's medical school). His interview was October 4th. As soon as 9/11 happened, I was very reluctant; reluctant for him to fly on an airplane; reluctant for him to join the military. I knew our country would soon be at war. (A real fear that made me scared to bring a child into this world)

Needless to say, Matt went, was accepted to the school, and that is the path we have followed. Maya was born a few weeks before Matt left for officer training camp and joined the military. Four years of Medical School, four years of residency, and now a year under his belt as a staff physician. Matt is an anesthesiologist in the Air Force, currently serving in an Army spot, deployed to Afghanistan - 10 years later.

Lots of emotions, lots of changes. My heart goes out to all the families who directly lost someone on that terrible day. My heart goes out to all the families of service men and women who lost a loved one while they were fighting for freedom. My heart goes out to all the families who have spent far too much time separated from their loved ones who are serving overseas. My heart is with my husband. I love you so much! Take great care of the soldiers and civilians who come under your care. Take care of yourself and please come home to us. We miss you so. Thank you for serving our country.

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