Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Silent Thunderous Memories

I remember hearing the classic 'train whistle', running with the kids downstairs, and sitting in an open fireplace as the tornado cut a path beside the house. That was Hugo.
I was homeschooling my two children at the kitchen table when the phone rang. "We've just been attacked. Turn on the news." It was my sister-in-law calling and the day was Sept. 11.
I was on the second floor of the hospital eleven days ago when the midwife said "that's a little butt, not a head, that I'm feeling". The baby was breech and my daughter was headed to an emergency C-section.

When the train whistle stopped and the eye was over us, we peeked outside. Everything was black dark, but we could see that the oak in the yard had been picked like a daisy and plunged into the pool. It would be almost eight more hours until we would look on the total destruction. We would feel very blessed to be alive for a long time.

I stepped out onto my porch after the call from my sister-in-law, looking up to the sky, watching for...what? Rogue planes? Even weeks later we would still look over our shoulders, watching the skies, watching the mail for suspicious powdery anthrax, ...always watching. And  we would feel very blessed to still be alive as our country mourned and quaked with fear.

I stepped helplessly aside as they wheeled the gurney out, my daughter clad in a hair net, her husband in scrubs. I would wait by that nursery window, watching for a glimpse of my grandchild, but my heart was in the OR with my baby girl. Was she scared? Would she get to kiss her precious baby before they took him from her?  When my son-in-law finally wheeled the cradle past us and I got the first glimpse of my grandchild, I experienced euphoria. When I finally saw my precious daughter holding her son and smiling so big...well, I knew I was so blessed that she and the baby were still alive.

Today, silent thunder shook our house from one end to the other. Tremors? In NC? This is the south, not California. Yet, the news reports confirmed it was, indeed, an earthquake tremor. While it shook, we couldn't wrap our heads around what was happening since this is the south and stuff like that don't happen here.

But it did. Over and over it does. What we expect and what happens are hardly ever as planned. I will remember this day, like all the others. And we will feel blessed to still be alive.

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