On 9-11 and Sadness. And a celebration. And a bit of hope.

Today has been a weird day. Living in the UK, I haven't been bombarded with promos for 9-11 television programs, and so when I actually looked at the date, I was struck dumb.

Particularly since when getting dressed, I had put on a favorite bracelet, one gifted to me by a client and friend back when I worked in the hedge fund industry. She laughingly told us we had joined “the Tiffany club”, as all the girls on her desk were given them that year for Christmas.

That lovely lady, and all of the girls on her desk, along with almost all the people on the floor (save a few who were out that day), died on 9-11. They worked on the 92nd floor of Tower 2.

I love that bracelet. I hate that bracelet.

I still can't look at footage from that day. The first thing that strikes me is the numbness that I felt, and the surreal air that surrounded the near silent bus ride home from work, as people hopelessly dialed friends in New York.

I had started to watch a program that was running here -one of the few I was aware of- when Boo walked in. A sensitive boy, the last thing he needed to see was images of a plane blasting through a building when, despite all the flying we do, he is terrified by take-offs and landings. He knows of 9-11, despite not having being born yet; but his questions – “why would someone take over a plane” or “how did they do it” left me feeling inadequate to explain how much security has changed since then without confusing or scaring him further. I turned it off. He didn't need to see my tears.

It is a tough date for all Americans, I daresay, when referred to as 9-11.

But it is also September 11. The 11th of September. It is my cousin Kallie's birthday, so it cannot be a bad date. It is a blessed date. It was a horrible event, but I hate that we refer to it by the date. It belongs to others, too.

* * * * *

Surreally, my day also ended with a celebration. Our little town is home to Josie Pearson, who not only won a gold medal in the discus at the Paralympics last week in London, but she broke three consecutive world records in the process – and in a sport she had taken up 18 months ago, no less. Her story is one of inspiration (and not just because I can barely find the inspiration to exercise on a kind-of daily basis….).

Photo by Teresa Ratcliffe, because I left the house without a camera. First time. Ever.

Smiling, blond and lovely, she was a beacon of hope to me on an otherwise sad and dreary day. Looking at her, you have to believe that anything is possible with perseverance and hope.

* * * * *

Oh, and someone was smiling down on me….Poor Pea had had a dreadful day at school – one little boy had twisted her wrist, and then she had accidentally been bonked in the eye by another friend playing with some kind of toy – she was hard to understand through her tears, such as they were. We arrived late to the hotel where they were hosting Josie's welcome home event because I had to drop Boo at football practice, and it was so crowded, we couldn't even get to the doorway of the hall, let alone to a spot where we could even see or hear.

This was the last straw for Pea on a crappy day, as she desperately wanted to see Josie, who has been to the school to speak. My arms were aching from trying to lift her over the crowds of people, and her voice was starting to grate on my already fragile nerves “I can't SEEEEEEE” when she said “I wanna go home”.

As we left the Swan Hotel, we passed the BBC truck that was providing the technical “stuff” for the reporter inside. Pea had spotted Josie on one of his screens and squealed, and he invited us to watch along from the van.

Pea. Was. Chuffed.

It was a pretty sweet ending to a poignant day, that smile.



  1. a sad beginning but a much better ending.

  2. I’m so pleased your day ended with that smile. It’s a terrible date for so many, but you’re right – that date does belong to others too. There are never any words that feel right when talking about it, so I’m not going to try. Just to say that I came here, read your beautiful words and smiled at the last gorgeous photograph. x

    • Thanks so much. To be honest, the day is a struggle, blogwise – to not say something feels insensitive, but I am getting to the point where I don’t like to talk about it. I havent forgotten. I just don’t want to remember that feeling any more.

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