The Permanence of Forever
by Karla ° Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Today is September 11th. Six years ago, an enormously violent tragedy took place that remains beyond categorization.

While driving Mark to the train station this morning we were listening to the radio and something that resonated with me was hearing people say that they refuse to let an act of terror make them live their lives in fear.

I really can’t relate to these sentiments. Dying scares me. The thought of losing Nate scares me. The thought of losing Mark scares me. Every morning before we part ways, I tell Mark that I love him and to be safe.

Before Ava died, I used to work for a Government Lobby group in the heart of the financial district downtown Toronto in one of the tallest buildings in the city. I still remember very clearly being paralyzed with fear to take the elevator up to my 30th floor office on the one year anniversary of 9/11.

Shortly after the twin tower attacks, the anthrax scares began. I remember one day I was sitting in my office when all of a sudden everything went silent. And I don’t mean like everyone stopped talking, because holy crap, that place was so quiet that a morgue would probably be a more vibrant place to work. I mean all the background white noise that you never really notice, like the air blowing through the vents, stopped. The silence echoed into the hollow of an empty void as all the air to the building was shut off because there was an anthrax scare.

The silence reminded of what it sounds like when a massive power source shuts down and it takes a few seconds for the momentum of the energy to dissipate. Like in the movies when the aliens land their space ship and everything is loud and whirling and chaotic and then the engine turns off and as the motor slowly stops spinning, everyone stands around staring and waiting for something bad to happen while the bone chilling silence deepens. It was the eeriest non-noise I have ever heard and we had to evacuate the building.

It’s not exactly a timely endeavour to walk down 30 flights of stairs. So much could happen during that time. And there are so many people 30 floors above you and 30 floors below you with the exact same agenda. GET OUT!

One time when Mark was riding the subway to work the entire line was shut down because someone got on, set a brown paper bag down beside them on the floor, and then got off at the next stop without the paper bag. The bag contained their lunch.

Mark and I used to ride a train into the city together every morning. After getting off the train at Union Station, Toronto’s transportation hub, you have to work your way through a crowd of people to get anywhere. To put it into perspective, Union Station is busier than all three terminals of our nation’s biggest airport, Pearson International.

Millions and millions of people filter through this station every year and on this particular morning, all of the exits were blocked. We were trapped inside the building with thousands of other people and it didn’t take long for the panicked whispers to start. Someone told us that a biological agent has been released and we were being held inside to die a horrible and painful death due to bioterrorism.

I was pregnant with Ava at the time and I can’t remember when I had felt so scared in my whole entire life. I was trapped with thousands of people and helpless to protect her. Eventually we learned that there was one exit open and the rest were being blocked due to a hostage situation.

After 9/11, companies went crazy with their emergency preparedness plans. The company I worked for decided that if an emergency situation where to occur, everyone was required to a)evacuate and b)relocate to another location, which happened to be a very famous landmark in Toronto called the Royal York Hotel.

I did not like this idea one bit because as far as I was concerned, in the midst of a disaster, my first priority is my family. Not checking in for a head count. Especially not at a famous landmark that claims to be at the center of it all.

Is that selfish of me? To put my family first?

The thought of my family dying scares me immensely. I can't relate to the notion of not living my life in fear of something that is out of my control.

I feel the exact opposite and it is the sense of helplessness and lack of control that frightens me. Tragedy can strike in blink of an eye. It can be lurking behind the next corner and there is nothing I can do to protect my family and keep them safe.

Forever is far too permanent and today, perhaps more than any other day, I really meant it when I kissed Mark goodbye, told him I loved him and to be safe.


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I'm scared too. Even 6 years later I cringe at boarding an airplane and I can't help but feel terrified at being so helpless and out of control. 9/11 changed my perspective on life completely. Sometimes I still have nightmares about it. I guess we just have to focus on the fact that this life doesn't last forever; but if you do believe in a forever, a heaven beyond this earth, then that's where we'll ultimately end up with our families and loved ones. But yeah this life seems too long to not be with the ones you love. We can never take one moment for granted.
Posted by Blogger Carly :  September 11, 2007

Posted by Blogger Gina :  September 11, 2007

I feel the exact same way...Carlos is never allowed to leave the house until I kiss him goodbye and tell him to drive carefully. An innocence was lost that day, and I'm not sure we'll ever get it back....
Posted by Anonymous cate :  September 11, 2007

It was a tragedy that left it's mark
on all of us.

That quietness you talked about is the memory I have, it seemed the whole world was numb and quiet that day. I live right near a major airport, and to see the skies quiet for days following was weird.

I will always remember.
Posted by Blogger Donna :  September 11, 2007

I dunno, maybe it's b/c I live in such a small place, importance-wise, and the biggest building in our city still doesn't hold enough people for terrorists to care, that makes me kind of not worry so much. I mean, I'm definitely weary of any new terrorist plots, but I don't live in fear of them. I would die if I lost my family, but I don't let myself think about that. I tell Trey I love him and to be careful, but I pretty much just assume that he will be.
Posted by Blogger Christi :  September 12, 2007


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