“I’m not ready,” I thought after it sunk in that my mother was really gone. “I can’t fill your shoes. I have to try in order to keep the family you built together. But where do I start? You didn’t prepare me for your absence.”
Then, I thought back to that horrific day 19 years earlier when I thought I’d lost you in the September 11th attacks. I stood by the screens in the newsroom, screaming inside my head, “all those people. Wait, where’s my mom? I pray she got out of her office in time.”
I frantically tried to call you in between fielding calls from the desperate loved ones of coworkers and strangers; all hoping I had some answers. I was in my early twenties and I had none. I didn’t even understand what I was seeing.
Many hours later, I got a quick call from the pay phone at Grand Central. I heard your voice, learned of your harrowing escape from the cloud of dust and debris, and your unease about spending a night at Grand Central Station. I didn’t process any of the world. I just thought, “thank God she’s alive.”
I worked more hours, saw more grief and smelled the aftermath for three days while covering 9/11 than I have spent on anything since. I was drained in every way but I got through the trauma of it all, knowing I’d see your face again.
The pain and fear I felt that day, 20 years ago, was nothing to the despair that rocked me on 9/11/2020. Now, a year after your death , I know you gave me the tools I needed to be strong when necessary and to be open and vulnerable when called for. God gave me 19 extra years to learn from you, to love you, to show you my gratitude for your heroism and determination to come home to us.
So today, I arranged for the family to gather at your home, celebrate your life and the future you made brighter for us. We ate your favorite food, told stories about you but mostly we laughed and loved on each other.
Rest in Paradise, Mom! I love you eternally.
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