The phone rings in the middle of the night. Katie looks at the clock and it is 2:20 a.m. “Katie, it’s Dad, I am so sorry but I think you should come home honey, the hospice nurse says Mom doesn’t have much time.”
Katie wakes her husband Steve (my cousin) and together they make arrangements for airline tickets. Hurriedly they pack clothes, scoop up their two confused and sleepy young children and within hours they are on their way to Indiana.
It is now 8:50 a.m. and the pilot is heard informing the passengers that he has been instructed by the United States government to land at the nearest airport – that being Chicago’s O’Hare. No details or explanations are given and as they reach the terminal Katie sees that none of the televisions are on, and no one seems to know what is happening.
Within moments cell phones start to ring, and shreds of information arrive through concerned family members and friends. A plane has hit the World Trade Center in New York City. The horror has just begun. Shock and disbelief mix with Katie’s already anxious heart, but her focus continues on getting to her mother’s bedside.
Katie and Steve find a connecting train to South Bend, board and begin to prepare their young children for what lies ahead. They arrive; Katie hugs her father, and realizes she is too late. Her mother died a short time before her arrival, on a day that Katie and the rest of the world will never forget. Tuesday, September 11th, 2001
It is twelve years ago today that Katie’s mother died from a rapidly growing brain tumor, the same day that thousands of other Americans died, innocent victims of terrorism; thousands more around the world died that same day from natural causes accidents, starvation or disease.
So much can change within a single day; and yet, the strong roots that we have created within our families and our nation cannot be broken, even by death. Each death creates a deep void in our lives, an unexpected change to our world. Each life was a gift celebrated by families and friends, each person left an imprint on this world, and every one of them missed.
On this day of remembering, in the midst of all that has changed, I pray that we will never forget ALL the families that were forever changed by their loved ones death on September 11th, 2001.