The chimes of my cell phone started at 6:05, and I dutifully turned on the bedside lamp so I wouldn’t/couldn’t ignore the fact of needing to get up. Coming back from putting on the coffee, reading a few pages from an inspirational book, there was a small acknowledgment it was already 6:25.
That today is 9/11, a date causing many in this nation to recall a significant, almost surreal event– those terrorist attacks with airplanes full of people that took down the Twin Towers in NYC sixteen years ago– is obviously legitimate. More personal, less definitive, and somehow scarier, was a conversation with Mom yesterday on the drive back from church, when she got a little upset about ‘not being there’ to help Dad at the time of his death from congestive heart failure. Even after explaining the circumstances– a good, graceful exit after only two days in the hospital– her not remembering where he was buried (next to her folks), or that she’s lived in Charlotte for over two years after staying two-plus years alone in Tampa, wasn’t easy to listen to.
For all the times she’s commented about “it’s another glorious day in Charlotte,” it was overcast and sweater-worthy instead of sunny and 80s yesterday, and somehow a different kind of Time began ticking with her admission that, “I just can’t seem to remember any of that.”
She called brother Mike several times Saturday, ‘worried about the house in Tampa’, because you can’t ignore the fact– a major part of every newscast– that the biggest, baddest hurricane in 100 years is going to pound the city where she grew up, and retired with Dad to for 25 years. It’s easy to see how TV watching got her thinking about her good neighbors, how much the guy next door had loved being around my Dad, and then drawing a blank about what came after that upsetting her. Easy to see, somewhat harder to deal with for both of us.
As Director of my church groups (32nd annual) Christmas Tree sale, I have to send the order quantities today for the various sizes to my top assistant to pass on to the supplier. I have a confirmed 10:00 meeting with a veterans organization that I expect to work on a housing proposal with, and I just got a text from my Italian lady about moving our 2:30 public speaking session to Wednesday. Time is a fact of life we tend to build around daily, whether that’s waking up, picking my brother up at work, or knowing at some point I’ll need to drop by Mom’s place at Carmel Hills and find the box of Excedrin PM I know we bought and gave her yesterday.
Today, most of America will be thinking about a long, ugly struggle that blew up into an unmistakably dramatic point 16 years ago in NYC. Many of us are still be thinking about a flooded-out part of Texas with billions of dollars of destruction from one hurricane, while millions wonder how long the specter of Irma, still plodding up the west coast of Florida– with two more major storms still brewing in the Atlantic—will rule their lives.
Mom-wise, a little different kind of time seems to have started ticking for me.