Thursday, September 11, 2008

Remembering 9/11 Differently

Because I'm a procrastinator by design, I didn't have a post ready and waiting to go up today.

When I opened Blogger to post, I remembered it was 9/11.

At first, I wanted to say something about what we were doing that day, but what came to mind was something entirely different (and related to homeschool--in a twice-removed sort of way).

On 9/11 2006, Zane and I were making the twelve hour drive from northern Indiana to Greenville, South Carolina to see my best friend, Jill.

Exactly 11 months before that, Jill had confessed to me she'd been fighting breast cancer alone for the past year. She'd called me on Zane's birthday to tell me.

In another devastating call from her in 2006. Her lung had collapsed and she'd been in the hospital (alone again) and couldn't even call. She was released and a neighbor picked her up, but could not take care of her.

So Zane and I went.

I didn't have to take Zane out of school, I just had to pack up a few things to keep him busy (video games) and some light school work. I do wonder sometimes, if I hadn't chose to homeschool, would I have rushed down there? Would I have missed the blessing of seeing her and Zane have such a good time together?

Jill was there for Zane's birth when Phil was over the road driving the semi and my mom and dad stopped halfway because they were tired (and had no clue I'd go into labor early). Jill loved Zane like she would've loved her own if she'd have been able to have one.

On the way down to take care of her, Zane wanted to stop and see the mountains at a scenic overlook in Tennessee.

I was too wrapped up in the packing and the driving and the worrying about Jill to even think about the date. When I snapped these photos, though, it all came rushing back to me. Zane was exactly a month shy of two back then. I'd honestly never been so scared in my life as on the day of that national tragedy. And five years later, a tragedy on a personal level. I was going to lose my best friend, I just didn't know when.

My brain cannot wrap itself around these things at the same time and I'm reduced to an emotional emptiness and numbness that I find hard to describe in words because mostly, I cry.

Zane and Jill watched cartoons, played video games, and played with the kitties. And talked. If two souls were ever connected it was the two of them. I think maybe even more than she and I.

I know many lost loved ones on 9/11. I pray with them and for them. Because today, I think of Jill. She meant so much to us. And because my little boy doesn't understand breast cancer. He cries and says, "I wish Jill didn't have to die. I miss her so much. I wish I could have seen her again with you before she died."

I can't tell him that today is the 2nd anniversary of the last time he saw her. But I'm wearing my pink flannel jammies all day to remember.
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dianne - bunny trails said...

What a beautiful tribute, Michelle. How precious to have the memories and the photographs.

Lisa said...

How bittersweet, to share your child with your best friend, only to lose one of them.

What a lovely memorial you've written here. Jill would be pleased, I'm sure.

Amber (Bringing Good Home) said...

A very beautiful tribute to your best friend. :)

Sweet Repose said...

We lost our wonderful son in law last year to brain cancer at age sad the tragedies this life gives us...wonderful tribute to your friend.


Heather said...

Very touching story. You are a great friend. :)