Category Archives: Family

9/11 After 11 Years

Over the last year I have had the privilege of reading and hearing  a lot of people tell their 9/11 stories. It’s always interesting and moving to read the stories from that day. These stories have changed the world. Here is mine:

It was the 2nd day of my 2nd week back to real life. I had lost my mom unexpectedly on the 25th of August. I took that first week off after she died to help plan her funeral and greet the hundreds of people who came to offer support to my family. After a quiet Labor Day weekend it was time to get back to life. I had 2 jobs and a full class load at college waiting for me.

When we were little and all through high school, when ever we were complaining that we didn’t feel good, my mom had always said to us, “get up and get moving and you’ll feel better.” Much to our dismay, she was almost always right. On that Tuesday morning I was just repeating that in my head over and over. Get up. Get moving. You’ll feel better. Getting up wasn’t all that difficult to do since I hadn’t been sleeping well anyways. I had been up to see my dad off to work at 5:30 and had taken the longest shower of my life. I didn’t have to be to class until 8, so when I was ready to go at 6:30 (I was in Colorado, so it was 8:30 EST) I sat down to watch the Today show because my mom had always watched Today when she was getting ready in the morning.

And there, behind the heads of Matt Lauer and Katie Couric I watched the entire world break apart. It felt like watching a movie. It couldn’t be real. What in the hell was going on? The minute I showed up to class that morning, they had us all stuck to the television. Right up until the time they sent us away. With zero answers and so much fear, they sent us home. And then my night job decided to close early as well. With what was left of my family, I sat glued to the TV, unable to turn away. One more horrifying chapter to add to the story of my life. Only this time it was so much worse. And we didn’t have mom there holding our hands or making us mac & cheese as we all cried during the nonstop footage we just couldn’t seem to turn away from.

Why had this happened? We weren’t even allowed time to recover from one tragedy before we were faced with yet another. And while the events of 9/11 were an absolute nightmare, they served as a distraction from the nightmare we were already living.

I was lucky enough not to have lost anyone that day. So many people were not. I really felt for them, though. For the first time during a tragedy, I actually knew what it was like to feel such a devastating loss. As those buildings crumbled to the ground, so did the last of all that was right with the world.

In the days after, when it was time again to try to get back to our regularly scheduled lives, my sister and I talked about the overwhelming numbness and fear that we felt. Like nothing would ever be right with the world again. It was too much at once and we had a pretty hard time dealing.

Eleven years later, despite all of the tragedy, life has gone on.

I have met and married a Navy man who served on board a ship sitting below the Brooklyn Bridge, that on that day was forced to threaten to shoot down planes daring to cross them.

Since that day I have seen one sister join the Army and one join the Navy. I have seen them off on one military deployment after another. But we have all survived. And we have all built new lives for ourselves. We have all moved on. But we all still remember.I am sure the entire country has done that with us.

As we move on, and build our lives, we take time today to remember all of those who were taken from us on that tragic day. God bless us every one.

“It has been said, ‘time heals all wounds.’ I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”
― Rose Kennedy

If you would like to learn more about supporting our troops at home and abroad, please visit USO.org

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Filed under Family, Politics, Television

Sometimes You Forget

I want to say that the day that my mom died was the worst day of my life.

But I can’t say that.

August 25, 2001. I was on a camping trip with a bunch of friends. Before we got to the mountains, my sister and I forced our BFF to go see NSYNC at the IMAX. It was awesome. Not so much for her but we really didn’t care. Once we got to the hills and out of cell phone range, we went hiking. Built a huge camp fire. Roasted marshmallows. Drank a ton of beer. Sang “Free Bird” along with a pretty terrible guitar player. We went to bed happy.

The day my mom died was pretty awesome for me.

The next morning we drank camp fire coffee. We had a blast while horse back riding. When my sister rolled up her sleeping bag we all found out that she had been sleeping on a snake all night. It was hilarious. Not for my sister. But the rest of us got a good laugh out of it. We were all pretty bummed to pack up and head home. It was Sunday. Monday was the first day of school for all of us college kids and back to work for the majority of us who had jobs as well. Sunday was supposed to be easy.

When we got home we found our driveway full of relatives’ vehicles. “How nice!” we thought. They must be helping mom and dad finish the basement. FINALLY.

That was not why all of my relatives were there.

My mother had died the night before. A heart attack. According to the coroner, a freak, strange occurrence for a woman of only 46. All of the wrong things happened at all of the wrong times. All while she was relaxing, watching a Broncos pre-season football game.

The following Wednesday, the 29th of August, 2001, we had our memorial. Thousands of people showed up. We all said our goodbyes. Mostly.

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 On Saturday (August 25, 2012) I was on my way to the Red Sox game in Boston. So excited to see my friends. So excited for our first baseline seats! The date scrolled across the Marquis at the station. I had forgotten what day it was. I sighed and didn’t mention it to my husband. We were on our way to have fun so I pushed it out of my mind.

On Wednesday I was busy  dream casting the movie for my favorite book of the summer when I had to double check my calendar. I had forgotten again what day it was.

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Sometimes, when I forget, I feel like I am forgetting her. That I might someday forget the sound of her voice. Or the way that she smelled. Or that she would tell me to stop being a baby right now and then give me a hug. Forgetting is the worst thing for me. It makes me feel like a terrible person. Like a terrible daughter. My mother is someone who should always be remembered. I try to remind myself that she would want me to live my life and never dwell on the things that I cannot change.

But I do hope to change the part that is trying to forget.

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Filed under Family, More Me, Sports

Parenthood: Spend Time with the Bravermans

Finding a television show on NBC that I can really care about is pretty rare. Which is probably why I never gave Parenthood, the television series, a fair shot when it first started. And I’m really sad that that happened. Especially because this show seems to have filled some of the Friday Night Lights sized whole left in my heart. Most likely due to the many shared cast members and production staff. That alone should have drawn me to it right away.

Over the last 4 days of marathoning the first 3 seasons, I’ve really gotten to know the  family, the Braverman clan. I have bawled my eyes out and laughed my butt off. Both of which surprised me. For anyone who is used to a loud family, always talking over each other, always getting in each other’s business and always being the most important part of life, the Bravermans will make you feel right at home. For those who never had that, they will make you feel as if you always have.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a big fan of the 1989 movie of the same name, staring Steve Martin and I wasn’t sure how the series would stack up. It’s remarkable how well they’ve done, following those established character cues while also adding more depth, more heart and just the right amount of added drama. If you know the movie well, it will be easy to match each television character to its movie counterpart. And the casting of these counterparts is absolutely phenomenal. There is not a weak actor on the show, including the many familiar guest stars they have flowing in and out of the lives of the central family structure. Lauren Graham is flawless as is Mae Whitman who plays her daughter. Monica Potter and Erika Christensen are stunning, never failing to make me cry right along with them. Dax Shepard has blown away any expectations I ever had and the rest of the cast is equally recognizable and amazing. I have fallen in love with every single one of them, flaws and all.

People who know me, know that I am a big fan of over the top drama and crazy plot lines, even the ones that make me roll my eyes. The beauty of this show though is the subtly of the conflict and the realness of the story. Not one of the characters faces a problem that I myself or a loved one hasn’t faced. And it’s the family’s reactions to and resolutions of these conflicts that make them ever more endearing and heartwarming. No one is perfect. Bad things happen. But family always has your back.

The first 2 seasons of Parenthood are available on Netflix streaming and season 4 will be airing this fall on NBC. Time well spent.

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Filed under Family, Movies, Television

Long time reader, first time writer…

Long time reader, first time writer….

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Filed under Family, Marriage

Home is Where the Heart is

I was beyond shocked to wake up to news of a shooting at a movie theater in my former home town of Aurora, CO. A theater I used to frequent often. I still have the ticket stub from the last movie I saw there (Fahrenheit 9/11) the summer before I moved to Massachusetts.

On Tuesday night I returned to Boston after 2 weeks in my home state of Colorado, a state already devastated by raging fires. And as I was walking home from the Salem farmer’s market last night, I saw a columbine blooming in front of my house and felt homesick for the mountains, despite just getting back from there. As I mentioned in my previous post:

Colorado is where I grew up. It’s where I became the person that I am. And it is filled with my family, the people who helped to make me who I am.

I spoke with my Denver based  sister this morning to make sure that everyone we know and love was safe and healthy. “It feels just like Columbine all over again,” she said. “Get out of the house. Don’t sit and watch the news all day.” We were both living at home with our parents in Aurora, CO on that day in April 1999. Sitting on a sofa, glued to the television, just 6 miles from this morning’s terrible shooting. And she is right. This feels very much the same. Only this time my mom isn’t sitting next to me, holding my hand.

It’ all so very surreal. And senseless. And it makes me want to zip up my still unpacked suitcase and get on a plane, back to my friends and family in the Centennial State. I just wish there was something I could do. Something that would help.

If you are in CO and can, please donate blood. You can find more details here.

To all the victims and their families: my thoughts and prayers are with you and with everyone back home. God bless.

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Filed under Family, Movies

The World’s Oldest Teenager

I was on the plane yesterday, heading home to Boston after 2 weeks in Colorado and I was feeling a little sad about it. So, I was doing things that were comforting. I was reading my Comic Con TV Guide with the cast of The Vampire Diaries on the cover, drinking Diet Coke and when I wasn’t listening to Carly Rae Jepsen I was watching season 1 episodes of The O.C. When I bent down to scratch where my knot tied anklet was itching me, it occurred to me: I am the world’s oldest teenager. And I don’t even care.

The parts about my trip (aside from spending time with friends and family) that I loved the most also made me feel a little young for my age. I loved that staying in my aunt’s big, beautiful house meant that I could blare my music all day and night and dance around like a fool without worrying about neighbors who might be sharing a wall or a floor. I loved that drinking at high altitude meant no hangovers (Sogrape Gazela Vinho Verde is my current fave).

My main job for two weeks, besides the occasional baby sitting,  was just making sure the house was taken care of so I was free to read as much as I wanted and watch as many Channing Tatum movies as I could find. It was pretty magical. I loved going for pedicures with my sister and my CO bestie (of course we all got flowers painted on our toes) and then doing handstands in the pool for an entire afternoon.

I have since come home to a pile of mail that needs dealt with, tons of unpacking that needs done and several messes that I made before I left on my trip. All will need to be taken care of but I made myself a CO trip playlist that should help me make it through the not so fun stuff.

I was super excited to see my husband and my MA bestie and I am really looking forward to the upcoming trip to Ohio with the rest of my Boston friends. But there are a lot of things I am missing as well. Like drying off after a shower. The humidity out here on the East Coast makes that impossible. And the July temperature really never drops here at home, even after dark. I’m also missing the two little girls who loved to color with me and thought that I was the COOLEST EVER!

Colorado is where I grew up. It’s where I became the person that I am. And it is filled with my family, the people who helped to make me who I am. The house where I stayed is surrounded by petunias. The flower that my mother always filled her gardens with. Every time I smell them, I think of her and miss her so much. At night there, the air is so calm and comfortable. And so very quiet. The only sounds were the crickets and the lake water lapping on the shore. I’m really going to miss that.

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Filed under Family, Music, Photos, Television, Travel

Rocky Mountain High

Greetings from Colorado!

After 4 amazing days at a New Hampshire lake house with 10 of my closest friends, gallons of beer and zero sleep, I have arrived at lake house #2 in Loveland, Colorado where I will be house sitting for my aunt for the next 2 weeks.

 

I love this house. I always have. And now I have it (mostly) to myself for 14 days. Virgil is here and I will be helping to take care of my niece while my sister is in class, friends and family will be coming and going pretty often but, for the most part I am looking forward to doing a lot of reading, a little yoga and watching probably the least amount of television ever in my life. Also hoping that being out here will somewhat lessen the sting of missing Comic Con this year. Because that kind of sucks.

I’ll be keeping up with Awkward (LOVED the season 2 premiere! TEAM MATTY!!!) and True Blood but will probably take a break from the One Tree Hill Retro Recaps while I am here. There are just so many books to read! And I have been working on Clockwork Prince for an embarrassingly long time.

Stay tuned friends! I’ll post vaca updates and photos as often as I feel the urge. Have a great Tuesday!

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Filed under Books, Family, Photos, Television, Travel, Virgil