September 11, 2021 marks twenty years the World Trade Centre towers fell and a group of people took on their highjackers, paying with their lives to prevent a greater loss of life. At the time, I worked at a bookstore and heard the murmurs of what was going on. I wandered into the Radio Shack at the time and saw the second tower fall in real time.
Until I got away and went on retreat at St. Benedict’s Retreat centre, soon to be no more by the way, the sky silent as no planes took off from the nearby airport or from Richardson International. In the silence, the world felt changed and until I went to New York in 2016, I had no idea how much. It was all too much. When I arrived at the memorial, making sure my pilgrimmage happened in the early morning before most of the city got moving, the 2016 Republican nomination was in full swing and hearing these men speak sparked a metaphor.
The plans crashng was like a giant stone dropped into water, the ripples moving, the more pronounced were close to the centre, but those ripples are still felt and seen if you look close enough.
Speaking of water, the fountains marking the site of the twin towers roar in the silence. Around are the names of the people who died from firefighters to those working at Cantor Fitzgerald. One of the people who died, Christine Egan, visted her brother who at World Trade Centre. She left behind her partner Ellen Judd, both of them worked for the University of Manitoba and today she was remembered by the Rady Faculty of Medicine, along with scholarship bearing her name.
In the middle of everything, came September 12 and the second anniversary of mom’s death and what would have been dad’s 97th birthday. Today, I had a scare last week. My aunt and I trade texts, usually in the evening but sometimes in the morning if I forget. She lives alone and made peace with the fact she could die at anytime. (She has a hernia near her heart.) I texted, no response. Called her, no response. I ducked out of work to check on her at home, fearful of her passing away alone, and getting a text part way through my drive.
My aunt attended morning mass at her church, the one for my parents she told me about weeks ago; I completely forgot all about with the school year starting. I cried on my way back, washing my face to put on a brave one. I tucked everything away to concentrate on work. I am still injured in ways nobody can tell. I square my shoulders and carry on.