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Friday, September 11

what I remember

I remember that all of a sudden the phones all started ringing on every desk. Family members, spouses. Did you hear? Turn on a radio. Sign on to CNN. Planes into skyscrapers in New York.

People wandering cubicle to cubicle, numb expressions, quizzical and edging to panic. The Pentagon. The Pentagon?? Dear God, this is real.

My phone rang again. My son in Colorado. His voice sleepy and vulnerable. Confused. He was 20-ish, grown. Accomplished, Independent. 2 time zones away. It was probably just becoming dawn over the Rockies. "Mom? What's happening? What's happening?" Mothers can feel their childrens' fear over mountains and time zones. My man child awoke to crashing planes and bewildering violence and he called me. He called Mom.

My heart squeezed with love for him, with desire to be with him, to weather this as family. comforting and reassuring each other.

Later, we talked to the rest of the families, learned that one sister was unaccounted for. A sister who sometimes worked in Building 7. All night, as we watched the buildings fall, and fall and fall again, the strange plumes of debris, oddly graceful, cascading, I saw Dorie tumbling in the smoke and ash. Head over heels, like an acrobat. Riding the wave to the ground. We finally got the call late that night that she had spent the day with a friend and had no idea the family was frantic, was actually unaware of the tragedy until a few hours before.

And finally, there were tears. Relief morphed into grief into fear into a sadness too heavy to carry.

There are so many memories of that day, those weeks. But what I will never forget, ever ...

"Mom? What's happening?"

And I had no answer.

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