I remember September of 2001. I honestly don't remember what I had for breakfast this morning... but I do remember September, 2001. We were living in Kansas City and Eric had just began his second year of medical school. I was working as the manager of an assisted living facility in rural Missouri, Lauren was a year away, and it was just the two of us. We had recently moved into the Riverside Townhomes which was a small community filled with families who were also going to medical & dental school. We knew many of the people living there- they were our friends and, with everyone so far from home, for the most part our family as well.
September 2001 was when I found out I had an eye disease called Ocular Histoplasmosis. I had started losing vision in my left eye & after being referred from one specialist to the next, I received the news that I needed a laser surgery immediately. I was scared - 29 years old and losing my sight. I had a lot of pressure from the retinal specialist to have the laser procedure that same week. Eric supported the physician's decision but I really wanted to talk with my parents or my uncles to see what they thought... and they were all on an Alaskan cruise so I was on my own. We decided to go ahead and schedule the procedure which would take place on Monday, September 10th.
The laser treatment was really not a big deal- the biggest inconvenience was that I couldn't go into the sun for a few days after it had been administered because the medication reacted to light. I went home and laid down in a dark room until the sun went down. That evening, Monday the 10th of September, was a beautiful night. When it was safe for me to be outside, Eric and I went out on our stoop to enjoy the late mid-west summer warmth. And even though it was a school night, many of the other families also came out to visit. It was picturesque and I felt blessed. People were concerned about my procedure and came over to talk but really, we all just wanted to be outside. It was dusk and the children were running around, reliving the summer that had just slipped away. Parents were chasing kids and catching up with whatever assignment or rotation they were on. Mothers were chatting about the upcoming school events and church responsibilities. And I was there- realizing what a great life I had and how content I was. One by one, families headed inside but I didn't want the evening to end. I was hopeful that there would be many more nights like this one and we finally headed inside, ourselves.
The next morning Eric had already left for school & I was still laying in bed. I turned on the Today show and when it was announced that a plane full of people had just crashed into a building in New York, I sat straight up in bed. I had to cover my left eye so that I could focus on the television screen and when I did... another plane disappeared inside the World Trade Center. I couldn't get my mind around it and I still can't. Instead, I try to hold on, tightly, to how I felt the evening before when everything was so right. I can't undo what happened to those poor people. I can't begin to understand the evil that hurt our country and our sense security so badly. But what I can do is try my very best to recreate September 10th, 2001, each day. I can work to love my neighbors, appreciate what is in front of me, speak kindly to my children, and create a sense of peace and love in my home. I will never forget September 11, 2001. And, because of that day, I will also never forget September 10, 2001. For that day, I am forever grateful.