I had fallen asleep on the lounge late, the television had lulled me with its nonsensical banter… A mother of a 3 year old and a young baby learns to grab her sleep when she can. When I awoke at about 1am in the morning, I was certain that I had woken midway through some big budget Hollywood disaster movie. I was confused by the news headlines scrolling across the bottom of the screen but simply assumed it was all a part of the storyline. Perhaps the main characters were a group of Lois and Clark-esque reporters who were witnessing the coupe of their news careers unfolding before their very eyes…
And then a familiar face popped up on the screen… Not some fictional character being played by Tom Hanks or Geena Davis, but my very own local bigwig on the news scene.
As my brain synapses started madly firing, trying to make a connection that I was fighting with every atom in my being, I distinctly remember the very moment my heart stopped…
This wasn’t a late night Hollywood blockbuster… this was real. And it was happening right now.
My heart started beating again… double time and skipping about like a rabbit on speed.
The first tower had already been hit, and I was playing catchup… desperately trying to make sense of what was happening when right before my eyes I saw the second plane slam into its target.
My tears came then, and they just kept on coming. My cries awoke hubby and he came running to see what had upset me so… He joined me in my vigil, and I took comfort in his presence even though no words were spoken betwen us. Somewhere in the small hours of the morning my baby awoke and I fed him on autopilot, then held him until the sun rose. All the time watching this heartbreaking disaster unfold half a world away.
I have tried to raise my children the best way I know how. I strive to be honest in my answers to their questions even if they are sometimes a little curly. I will not lie to them, but try explain things to them in an age appropriate way. I have tried to teach them that everyone deserves a fair go, no matter if their skin is a different colour to ours, or if they wear strange clothes, or if they speak a little differently to us. It is what is on the inside that counts, and how that person treats his fellow man.
“Mummy, why are you crying?” asked my three year old when he woke up the morning after the world went mad.
“I’m crying because I have just watched a lot of people die in another country, and it has made me really sad.”
“Was there a war Mummy?”
“No honey, there wasnt a war”
“Then how did they all die?”
How? How do you explain something as horrific as this? And I did have to explain it… somehow… I knew that no matter how much I sheltered him (and really… would sheltering him completely from the atrocities of the world do him any favours in the long run? I dont believe it would) the events of 9/11 were so earthshattering that I knew he could not escape it completely. I tried to answer his question… as simply as I could.
“Baby, some men crashed some aeroplanes into some buildings and they killed a lot of people.”
“Thats a bad accident hey Mum?” my baby said to me.
“Honey, it wasn’t an accident. They did it on purpose.”
Confusion in his big brown eyes as he asks me in a tiny voice “But… why?”
“Because sometimes people do really bad things to other people darlin, for things that they believe in… Its not nice, and it hurts so many people, but it happens.”
And as he crawled into my lap and I wrapped my arms around him, I felt his tears mingle with my own and I knew that with those words I had been forced to steal something from this child of my heart that he should have been able to keep for at least a few more years…
Overcome – lyrics by Live.
even now the world is bleedin’ but feelin’ just fine all numb
in our castle where we’re always free to choose never free enough
to find i wish somethin’ would break cuz we’re runnin’ out of time
and i am overcome i am overcome holy water in my lungs i am overcome
these women in the street pullin’ out their hair my master’s
in the yard givin’ light to the unaware this plastic little place
is just a step amongst the stairs
and i am overcome i am overcome baby holy water in my lungs i am overcome
so drive me out out to that open field turn the ignition off
and spin around your help is here but i’m parked in this open space
blockin’ the gates of love
i am overcome i am overcome holy water in my lungs i am overcomed
beautiful drowning this beautiful drowning this holy water
this holy water is in my lungs
and i am overcome i am overcome i am overcome i am overcome