For those of us in the US, 9/11 is Sunday and it’s a very significant day. This stories in memory of those who died and especially their families.
I was five years old when the planes hit. Lizzy had just turned one. My mom had gone to meet her friend who worked in the Towers for breakfast that morning. She called us at 10:30. She told dad to give me the phone and I’ll never forget the exact words she said to me, “Alex sweetheart, I know you don’t like your sister right now but you’re her brother and you need to protect her from everything and make sure she knows that I’m watching you guys. Alex, I’m proud of you, remember that okay? No matter what you do I’m proud. I love you so much buddy. Now give your daddy the phone.” Mom didn’t come home that night…or every again.
Five years after that day, my dad remarried. I don’t like this woman, Janice, but since dad’s been with her it’s the happiest he’s been since mom died. I got a stepbrother out of it, Richard. He’s seventeen and I’m only allowed to call him Rick when Janice isn’t around. She hates nicknames. She calls me Alexander and Lizzy, Elizabeth. I almost forgot! Dad and Janice had a kid together, Amanda. (I call her Mandy when Janice isn’t around.) Mandy turned two in July.
But, back to the topic at hand. During the week it happened, I see my mother’s grave three times. I take Lizzy at some point in the week like we do every week. Then we have a tradition starting on the 7th.
On the 7th my dad goes alone. He visits mom’s grave once a month.
On the 8th, Janice drags us to the site and her, Rick, and Mandy honor all the dead in the Towers. Lizzy, Dad, and I honor all the first responders. Janice only thinks about the corporate people working there and that the first responders weren’t trying. Dad and I know they were trying to save as many people as they could and that’s what I’ve taught Lizzy.
On the 9th,Dad and Lizzy go and visit mom’s grave alone then head to the site and spend more time alone there.
On the 10th, Dad and I go to mom’s grave then head over to the site.
On the anniversary the three of us rewatch the newscast then visit mom’s grave again and have a picnic with her. The day is rounded out with another trip to the site where we give every emergency personnel we see a flower, a hug, and a thanks. Janice and Rick know to avoid Lizzy and me on this day. We cry in our room at night but if they come near we get really angry. Lizzy and I are really close. It’s my way of protecting her. Tonight, we’ll sleep in my room. We know the bad dreams will come but they won’t be as bad as the one we wake up too on September 12, 2011. The one that starts with Janice’s scream.