The biggest distinction between humans and other mammals is our ability to convey emotions to other humans of all kinds. We can communicate and articulate what exactly is on our minds. Do we always do that? Fuck no. If we did, then there would be no war, no anger, no grudges held.
It’s not a secret my relationship with my mother has been one of hurt, anger, resentment, miscommunication and mistrust. I am not saying this has all been on her shoulders; it’s been my responsibility as well. There has also been times of happiness, pride, laughter and love—and at times, sometimes I really doubted her true maternal care or instinct for me. While frank, that is not meant to be cutting. It was a genuine question in my life.
11 years ago today was the 14th day of my college career. I was in the Bronx at Fordham University, rushing to get to my sociology class and realizing humans were walking around in a daze, as if they were headless chickens. Students, adults, crying, hunched down in abject anguish. I soon discovered the cause and my life (and the rest of the world) was never the same again.
Cell reception was terrible. The only thing I wanted to do was hear the voices of my family. I couldn’t even try to cry—how could I? My friend’s father was missing. So was another’s uncle, brother, sister, mother. What right did I have to cry, when I knew the ones I cared about were safe?
Finally, around 11:30, I was able to get through to my house. If I ever had any doubts about my mother’s love and care for me, the two words she repeated over and over on that phone call answered any lingering doubt. The phone barely rang and she answered it and I said: Mom?
My baby! My baby! My baby! She cried over and over. As I type this I regret any questions I had regarding her love. On that day, hearing her voice was the only moment I almost cried. Her voice was fraught with pain, with anguish, torture and relief. And love.
No relationship is perfect, and there will never be a perfect relationship. I am actively trying to be a better daughter to my mother, and I believe she is striving to be better as well. Especially on this day, I always thank God that I have two parents, two sisters and friends I am able to love and I try each day to let them know my feelings.
I’d like to think that those passengers on the planes 11 years ago were feeling love and not pain or fear. I hope (and always have) those firefighters, police officers and civilians whose lives were taken were, on their last breath, thinking of their families feeling love and knowing they have loved. What an experience. Love.