Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11th

Extremely mixed emotions about this day. September 11th. That date will always hold with it a memory of significant emotional images and thoughts for millions of Americans and for all humanity who "witnessed" the terrorist events of that day in 2001. This year I remember the victims of September 11th as well as the patriotic and urgent feelings of that day. I recognize that there are many who are still suffering from the loss that ripped loved ones away on that day. Still, I am grateful for all that I have and for my citizenship in this free country.

On that morning I walked in to my 7:00 am Physical Science class at BYU-Idaho a few minutes late and was surprised to see no professor and a room full of silent classmates who had their eyes glued to the news channel on the classroom TV. Instantly I knew something tragic had happened. I slowly sat down to take in the event with my classmates. The first image I saw were people running, screaming, and crying and then the camera full-panned up the length of one WTC building and I saw the flames and black smoke. Suddenly my professor appeared through a door and we knew the look on his face was somber and serious. He informed us that the World Trade Center had been hit and that class would be canceled. He then instructed us to call home and check in with our own loved ones and keep a prayer in our hearts for the rest of the day... and be sure to attend the campus-wide devotional later that day (by President David A. Bednar), which normally occured each Tuesday. Instantly, I remembered that my good friend Ryan Thomas was serving his mission in New York and I worried about his well-being but knew all I could do was keep a prayer in my heart for him.
I was a Resident Assistant (RA) in the dorms that year and was the "big sister" for hundreds of freshman girls who had just arrived for their first year of college. I immediately returned to the dorm to call home and check in (feeling very far away from my own family in Arizona), but found that all was okay. I hung up and knew I had to get to "work". I went to the dorm lobby and turned the news on (as it was early and many girls still didn't know what had happened. I then walked the halls and checked in with "my" girls to be sure everything was ok. Turns out one of my girls' father worked on the 46th floor of the WTC and had been killed in the attack that day. Here's to remembering him and all those who passed in vain on September 11, 2001.

Fast forward one year, September 11, 2002. I was now living in Provo attending BYU. A few weeks earlier I had given my name and phone number to a "stranger" I met on a plane, who happened to be Brian Bradshaw, the mission companion of Jeff Moss. Brian was coming from Connetticut to Utah to visit his girlfriend and Elder Moss and, knowing I was new to the area, suggested that I hang out with his companions some time. I gave in and provided my number. Well, Jeff Moss actually had guts to call and set up a blind date for September 11, 2002. It was a marathon date... meaning we jammed in so many things that night it could have been considered 5 dates in one... and he kissed me that night... on our first (blind) date. Six years ago tonight I met the love of my life.

Fast forward to TODAY... September 11, 2008. I just received a call that I knew would be coming... but have been dreading its arrival. My mom, in tears on the other end of the phone informing me that HER mom, my grandma (affectionately known as Ione) has taken a turn for the worst. Ione took a hard fall about 5 years ago and has been nearly bed-ridden ever since. About a year ago she was moved from her home to a hospice and my sweet grandpa (Papa) has faithfully visited her every day since. This is my Ione who hosted the best tea parties a little girl could dream of, who taught me to sew and embroidery, who told the best stories, who loved her pioneer heritage and always shared it, who lived in a house on the lake and always let us come to play "little house on the prairie" with our friends in her backyard, who traveled the world and always brought us back something, who gave me my own refurbished antique trunk (hope chest) and graduation quilt, who invented Cousins Camp--dreamy summer days (weeks) at the cabin with no parents and only cousins, who Corbin and I used to eat dinner with every Wednesday evening at the Old Country Buffet, whose laugh and smile, and punk-rocker hairdo I will never forget.... who just held my new baby a few weeks ago. My Ione is slipping and soon, perhaps today I will have to say goodbye for this life. September 11th... a day that stirs in me mixed emotions from the past, the present, and the future.


rachel said...

Wow--what a day for you! Crazy.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post Holly. Today always brings back memories for me about that horrible day, and of me wondering all day if Ryan was ok. And I'm so sorry to hear about Ione. I love how she never let anyone call her grandma and how warm and inviting she always was to me. Please keep me updated...

P.S. - Thanks for that awesome message you and Corbin left me yesterday. It made my day!

Mandy said...

Oh Holly,
You are so elequent and express the feelings of my heart at this time too! I love you and wish that I could be there with you to give you a big hug!

Anonymous said...

I remember I was with Jeff when he got your number and he was nervous to call you. We were driving home from Lagoon. Wow I feel like that was just a week ago or something. Its crazy how time is flying by. You two are ment for each other!!