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Rembering to love

9/11 Tribute in Light

One morning, fourteen years ago on this day, I was awakened by the sound of my grandmother crying in my room. As I sat up in my bed I looked at the television she was watching and saw footage of the falling tower. At first I was confused and asked what show she was watching. She looked at me with tears in her eyes and said “No, mi hija, se callo!” Still confused, I sat up and took a closer look. I realized she was watching the news and the tower that fell was real life footage. Instantly, I ran out of the room, I ran out of my apartment and into the hallway, and up the stairs. I climbed the steps two at a time, flight after flight till I reached the door to the roof. I took a deep breath and stepped outside. What I saw was a huge cloud of smoke as the second tower crumbled to the ground. The building disappeared into the mouth of the clouds of smoke as if it were swallowed whole. I stood there mouth opened wide, the building gone, and then there was nothing. No towers, no sound, just smoke. I stood in disbelief, in shock, the fear and sadness had not begun to set in yet. I looked up into the grey sky and watched the ash fly above me. I saw papers soaring up into the sky, across the water, as they fell around me and onto the other roofs and streets of my borough in Brooklyn.

I looked up into the grey sky and watched the ash fly above me. I saw papers soaring up into the sky, across the water, as they fell around me and onto the other roofs and streets of my borough in Brooklyn.

I sit here in my office today remembering the day that the two mighty towers fell; the staple of our skyline; the towers that represented the city that was my home. One moment they stood strong, the next moment gone. I think about all the people that woke up that morning to go to a regular day at work just as I did today. I think about the moment they realized that this was their last day on this earth. I wonder what their last thoughts were or what images crossed their minds. Families? Husbands? Wives? Babies? Memories of bringing life into this world or the sharing of special holidays? Would they think about regrets of things they should have done or not done. Perhaps fears of “what will my loved ones do without me?” I imagine that’s what I would ask myself.

As the towers fell and lives lost on 9/11/2001, a 19 year old girl stood on her roof in her pajamas across the river in Brooklyn, tears streaming down her face. Too young to grasp the immensity of what had just occurred. Over the next few weeks families would grieve. Confusion, fear, pain, and anger would consume the city streets. We grieved as individuals, as families, as a city, and as a country.

My heart aches from the memories and the loss. But what now?

I sit in my office today. I look out my window. My heart aches from the memories and the loss. But what now?

Life is happening all around us. Breathe in. Celebrate your existence in the world. Feel the sunshine on your skin. Embrace life. Embrace happiness. Embrace loved ones and all the special moments and the not so special moments. Feel the energy of life flow through your veins and beat in your chest. Embrace life because it is fleeting. Embrace life because one moment we are here and in the next we may not be.

Love deeply; love fully; and start with yourself.

About Crystal Conley


Crystal Conley is a 33 year old, mental health therapist that loves to plan parties. She lives in Orlando, FL with her sister Sonja and her two sons.