My mother died in September 1999, on either September 8th or 9th.
Our first baby's due date was in September 2000, on either the 8th or 9th.
I've forgotten which date is which but I remember what an emotional week that was in 2001 as I thought about both dates.
In 2001 I was pregnant for the third time, but because the first two pregnancies had ended in miscarriage, I'd really given up hope that I would ever have a living child. I was depressed and frightened. Life was dark and gloomy. No one told me that post-natal depression can occur after a miscarriage.
The 8th and 9th of September were difficult days as I thought of my mother in heaven with my two babies. Why did she get to meet them? Why didn't I ever get to hold them? I was angry.
On the 10th my husband and I attended our first childbirth class. All the couples around us were so happy! I felt out of place. The nurse-midwife asked us to write down our biggest fear about childbirth. The woman beside me shrugged her shoulders and smiled brightly and said, "I just can't think of anything to worry about!" I wrote, "I am afraid my baby will die."
So on the night of September 10th I went to bed with a feeling of fear.
On the morning of September 11th, my in-laws were planning to fly to Scotland, so of course my husband and I were thinking about them and talking about their trip.
My car was parked behind Mark's car in the driveway, so I went outside to move my car to allow Mark to drive to work. As I walked back to the house, Mark rolled down his car window and said, "Turn on the news. The radio station is saying something about a plane flying into a building."
I said, "That's not something your parents want to hear on their flight day!" I expected to find out that a tiny private plane had crashed accidentally.
But of course that wasn't it at all. I laid on the couch and watched the news and prayed "God help us!"
My husband and I had only had a television for a few months. I hadn't watched a tragedy unfold on television before. It was intense. I remember going to the midwife the next day; she was concerned about what I was eating so she asked, "For example, what did you eat yesterday?"
"I don't know," I said. "I was lying on the couch staring at the tv."
"Yes," she sighed, "we all were."
I cried for those who lost their loved ones on that terrible day, and as I did so, I began to climb out of my dark tunnel of depression and grief. I began to realize that I wasn't the only person grieving. I meditated on the fact of loss and the comfort of God's presence.
For me, September 11 was the beginning of a new and brighter chapter in my life. It was a wake-up call to me--to get my eyes off me, to see others and to listen for God's voice.
When I hear Alan Jackson's song "Where Were You when the World Stopped Turning?" I think that yes, my world did stop turning that day. It was like my washing machine when it's out of balance and making that awful ka-thumping noise. My world stopped, some things were rearranged and refocused, and then my life began to spin a bit more smoothly. Oh there have been ka-thumps since then, but I began to look at me a little less and at Jesus a bit more.
The last ten years have brought many changes to my life--three beautiful living daughters, a move to Las Vegas and a ministry leading Bible studies.
Tonight my church has a special memorial service that includes the Lord's Supper. As we remember the tragedy, we remember our Hope.