In An Instant - September 11, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Those looking for weight loss encouragement or musings on that, keep looking. This blog is not going to address that. It's about something else entirely.
I have been thinking of how things can change, so capriciously, in an instant. About a week or so ago, I learned the fate, quite by accident, of someone I went to junior high school with. I found a page on Facebook, dedicated to her memory and was puzzled about that, wondering what illness befell her, dying so young. She would only be at the most a year older than I, and curiosity impelled me forward to investigate. Sadly, if you know how to search the net, much is pretty easily revealed.
She died as a result of a horrific car accident, literally in her own driveway, as a result of a has-been actress making the decision to drive drunk. Oddly, I had heard about this actress' vehicular manslaughter the summer before, but I never knew it involved someone I went to school with. The actress had already been involved in an earlier accident with another vehicle, and when that victim started to call the police, the actress took off, and ultimately crashed into my classmate's car. Tailing the actress' car to make certain the police would catch her, the first victim actually saw the ensuing drama of the second accident. My classmate died at the scene moments after the crash, and her husband, the driver, had to be helicoptered to the nearby medical center, suffering multiple broken bones and serious injury. Being in a residential neighborhood, it struck me as curious that the force of the collision was so great. Later, the police calculated that the actress was traveling at 52-53 miles an hour when the impact occurred, pummeling into the passenger side of the car. My classmate's husband, as I said, was driving, and he literally had just pulled into the driveway of their NJ summer retreat, when the crash occurred. Two more minutes they would have been in the house, where their two young sons were. Had they stopped somewhere on the way home, just a minute or two of delay, would have avoided the ensuing tragedy altogether.
With all the storms that the east coast has been having lately, and since last winter with several blizzards, many trees have been weakened or uprooted. A friend of mine told me that her husband had stopped off to get a slice of pizza on his way home, a few months ago, and when he finally got home, saw that the tree that stood next to their driveway had been suddenly uprooted and had fallen clear across where his car usually is parked. My friend told me that had he not stopped, most likely he would have been in the driveway as the tree came down. For once, she said, she was happy that his hunger won out. It probably saved his life.
Today being the tenth anniversary of when the world changed for us New Yorkers, and for all Americans as well, we do have to set aside a moment, even if brief, to remember that tragic day. Even ten years later, it still stuns me how 3,000 people could be having their morning coffee at their desk at work in the Twin Towers, going over business e-mails, and beginning to set the day that horrible Tuesday, and moments later be annihilated, with no trace of them at all. And ten years later, we still do not know why they had to die. And how many lives were altered as a result.
It is still painful to see the interviews with some of the survivors, and some of the widows. Even now as they retell their own personal version of that day's events, the memory for them is still searing.
Be mindful, especially today, of all that you have, and all your loved ones that you hold dear. Make sure that they know. It all can change in an instant.