Sunday Sept 16, 2001 would prove to be the “tipping point”. Family, friends, neighbors, total strangers were stopping by my home with meals and encouraging words which was so very kind but I couldn’t be “all things to all people”. It was time to “circle the wagons”. Steve, my pastor, would take the lead and announce that “Ann doesn’t answer the phone or the door.” He would have the church organize updates and meals. The church would add daily updates on their website. My sister would be responsible for answering the phone and door and there would be a list of people I would speak to and/or see. There was actually a physical list of people. I would also make a list of people who I needed to speak to – people who I needed to talk to so I could stay strong. Months later people would joke “that they made the list.” Pastor Steve also stated that I would take a nap every day. Each day, my sister and I made a list of things we wanted to accomplish – simple things like take a shower, do laundry. There was a sense of being in limbo, a sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop, a sense of not knowing what you should do next. Squad 41 would call each day with their updates “nothing to report. We are still looking. There are voids.”
I think we sometimes feel that it is wrong to “circle the wagons” but there are times that you have to take care of yourself and those closest to you. There are times that it can only be about you. I hope you have friends who are so close to you that they will “circle the wagons” for you. I remember before September 11 being concerned how would I tell Bruce’s mom, or my parents or my kids that something had happened to him. Firefighter, police officer and military families live with the possibility that they won’t be coming home. So you think about “what if such and such happens.” On September 11, Bruce’s sister was visiting their mom in southern NJ which may not seem like a big deal but Bruce’s sister lives in KS. She would be there that day and for weeks to come. In August, my brother and his wife had moved back to NJ from CA so they were there for my parents. So that left me only my daughters to take care of and that was a gift. It was another blink from God that he had it all under control. On September 11,2001 I went into mother lion mode and my goal was to protect my girls no matter what. And I was fortunate to have my sister and other friends would helped me protect my girls and helped to take care of me.
Today I read a very sad article on the 9-11 server that I subscribe to. The widow of the pilot of United flight 93 died of an accidental drug overdose caused by mixing alcohol, anti depression drugs and anti-anxiety drugs. I feel so bad for her family. It is just so sad. I always try to remember when I hear, read or see a story in the news that “everyone has a family” or at least I hope they do.