10 years ago today.
I was in the living room of the apartment I shared with Crystal in Auburn Hills, Michigan. I was on a conference call with some IBM guys, who were in the tall Chrysler building just a few miles from my apartment.
I had the call on mute, enjoying a mug of coffee with the news running quietly in the background - my usual protocol for long conference calls taken at home.
And that's when all hell broke loose. The usual programming was interrupted, the footage of the plane hitting the building playing over and over again. I froze. I felt numb. I stared in disbelief.
Finally, I told the IBM guys to please turn the TV on in their conference room. They did. The call ended promptly as they prepared to evacuate. The shock was turning to fear, in that conference room and in my living room.
Rich was 3000 miles away, getting ready to hit an L.A. freeway for his long commute into Glendale. We were engaged, we spoke every day, I missed him like crazy. I tried calling his cell phone over and over but the circuits were busy.
My Mom & Dad and brothers were across the state, in my hometown of Muskegon. My Mom called, asked me what was going on in Detroit, using a quiet and calm voice. But I knew she was as panicked about me being out of her physical reach as I was about Rich traveling across what I thought was surely a target.
Crystal was in downtown Detroit, in the GM building, shooting an early morning commercial with a client. This is when it all became very real. Crystal was, and is, the person closest in my life, my heart. I couldn't get a hold of her, I knew she was in a potentially dangerous area, and all I wanted was for her to be next to me on the couch. Most of all, I was scared. And it would just feel better if she were there.
Eventually, Rich and I connected, he was safe. My Mom and I spoke a thousand times that day, sometimes just quietly staying on the phone as we both watched the footage. Crystal made her way home. We spent the entire afternoon and the whole night watching the footage, talking about the world changing, crying.
I don't remember everything I felt that day but I remember feeling this . . .
- Gratitude I've never felt before for the people in my life, their safety, their love
- Certainty that the world was not ending but changing
- Fearful of what was going to happen to our country, the economy, my friends and family
Ten years later, I'm amazed at the resilience of this nation and everyone around me. And still very grateful for all that I have.