9/11 Remembered

September 11, 2001. Is there any adult alive who does not remember where they were on that fateful morning?

I was in Wal-Mart.  I had left my house early to drive to the airport 2.5 hours away to pick up my grandmother.  She was visiting from the other side of the country.  My oldest son was in school and my youngest was with me for the ride. 

I was looking at paper towels when my cell phone rang. It was my husband.  He said “A plane has hit one of the towers in New York. There has been a terrorist attack.”  I told him he was crazy.  The Americans would never allow terrorists into their air space.  It had to be some weird joke on the radio.  He agreed that the possibility of terrorists doing something of that magnitude was incredible and it had to be wrong. We hung up and I continued to grab a few things before the next leg of my trip.

My phone rang a second time.  It was a woman from Air Canada.  “We have your grandmother here.  We can’t fly her to you because all air traffic has been grounded.  We will be putting her on a boat and you can pick her up tomorrow morning.” 

What? The terrorist attack was real? Planes grounded? The attack was real?

I spoke to my grandmother who was in great spirits and excited to experience an Atlantic Ocean ferry boat crossing.  My son and I headed home and like many others, I alternated between being glued to the tv and checking my computer for updates from friends.

I had recently found an online support group. The people there had not only become my lifeline, but also my family.  We were frantic to hear from people that we “knew” living and working near the towers in New York. I had a cousin who was an NYC police officer. I had to find out if he was working that day or safe with his family on Long Island. Another cousin was due to go to traffic court that day in one of the Towers. Did he go before the collapse? It was a day of chaos, fear and some relief.

By the end of the day, everyone was accounted for.  There were a lot of prayers for those lost as well as those who made it out alive.  Soon there was a new fear that began to permeate.  I live on an island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean.  It was easy for me to be cut off from the rest of the world–the rest of my family.

My youngest son relied on insulin to live.  What if something happened? What if the terrorist attacks continued? Would they target pharmaceutical factories? What if I couldn’t get insulin? How would my son survive? Could I feed him no or low carb foods? Would he be okay? I could feel the panic. Other friends with children with diabetes were much more creative. One friend investigated getting insulin from rabbits to use for her child.

Thankfully we never had to be concerned with any of that. It has been 12 years.  My grandmother has passed on.  Each year, those who survived remember.  Those of us who watched from our living rooms remember and say an extra prayer. Once diabetes enters your life, its funny how it permeates everything including memories of disasters.

Where were you?

Its that time of year and its amazing how crystal clear the memories are. Its equally amazing how much one day can influence every part of your life.

September 11th. The day that changed North America forever. The day terrorism was not just something that happened in places across the ocean but something that could happen here. Something that could touch us. Something that could touch the ones we love!

September 11, 2001 Liam and I had headed out to do some shopping before picking up my grandmother at the airport. We had the usual diabetes supplies and were carrying on as usual when my cell phone rang. It was Liam’s father. He told me that one of the Twin Towers had been hit by an airplane and it had fallen. I told him that it had to be a mistake. There was no way that this could happen. It certainly could not happen in New York. He agreed that it was odd and we hung up. Not long after my phone rang again. This time it was the airline that my grandmother was flying on. The woman kindly explained to me that all flights in North America were being grounded because of what was going on in the US. My grandmother was in Halifax and they would let us know how she would be making it to us but it would NOT be via air.

I was shaken and quickly headed home. Like the rest of the world, I was stuck to my TV for days. I was shocked and then began looking for information on family and friends. I had recently joined a parents forum and knew that there were some parents on that list who worked in New York City. We all began to worry about their safety. I also had family that lived in the area. My cousin and his wife were living in New York. Where were they? My mom’s sister in law lived on Long Island and her son was an NYC police officer. Where was he?? Thankfully everyone was soon accounted for. My cousin was suppose to go to court in one of the Twin Towers for a parking violation but his appearance had been cancelled so he was not there on that day. My mom’s sister in law’s son had the day off but quickly returned to the city to assist with the clean up.

This was just the beginning. We now began to worry about the fact that I lived on an island. What if supplies were cut off? How would we survive? This is a hardy area. People lived on nothing for years but I have a son with diabetes! How long could he go without real food? How long could he go without insulin? What if we ran out of test strips? Our world quickly changed. I hit the pharmacy as soon as I could. I began to make sure that I always had at least a 2 month+ supply of test strips. We had to keep at least a 3 month supply of insulin in the fridge. There were other accommodations made but stockpiling was the order of the day.

Its been 8 years now. A lot has changed. Airport security is tighter. Our way of thinking is different. I still horde supplies just in case. I still worry “what if?”. Its not a way to live and I try to ignore many of those fears but it is the reality of our times. Sad….