Thursday, September 11, 2008

My 9/11 (cont.)

So, we do not have television. I never really went on-line much for news back in 2001 and did not have a radio in the house - if there is an earthquake, I would feel it, there is no evacuation warning. On occasion, my mom has called to let me know news that is of national importance. Especially since the time that I did not know Princess Diana had died until I saw her funeral procession on the front page of a newspaper at 7-11. Isn't it cool that you can still be that sheltered?

Anyway, I woke up on the morning of Sept.11, planning to get Nate ready for a field trip to Riley's Farm Orchards. I had called my good friend Beverly and let her know what was going on with Brian and asked if she could take Nate with her to the trip. I had not thought of what I was going to do with Matt and Bria and get to the hospital.
Before I had time to figure that out, I got a call from my dad. Knowing we had no television on...he called to tell me two airplanes had hit the World Trade Center buildings. He was trying to tell me over the phone what the news was saying, while he was watching it. They had already announced that flights were cancelled and he knew he would not be going to New York as planned. I asked if he had talked to mom. He had tried to call her cell phone as well as my uncle's, but know one answered.
This is when I mentioned to him that we had another little crisis going on. I told him Brian was in the hospital and that I needed to get over there. He came to right over to watch the kids.
I got to the hospital and sat with Brian while he waited for more tests and results of some tests. They introduced us to the neurologist that would be checking things out. I think at this time they had already ruled out a stroke.
As we sat in the hospital room, watching what was going on in New York, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C. - we felt very small. We were alive, we were safe, we new where each other were ....we were waiting to hear from mom.
I left that day to find my dad at home with the kids - he had just stopped the ice cream truck to buy ice cream for my kids and the new neighbor next door :) He had ordered pizza.
The next morning, Sept. 12, 2001, we heard from Mom! She was safe, but she was so sad, she had a front row seat to something very horrific. She was in the downtown apartment building a few miles from ground zero. She heard booms, she smelled fumes and death. She was trying to find out how and when she could come home, but at that time, getting to airport was going to be difficult and it was still not clear when flights would resume. She wanted to be wit her family. She wanted to be with me and Brian. She really wanted to be there for the kids.

The afternoon of Sept. 12, I went to the hospital. I sat with Brian who was still in pain from a spinal tap. The neurologist came in to show us the results of the MRI and other tests. He said that there are seven (I think) tests that show you have Multiple Sclerosis - all of Brian's pointed that direction. The brain scans showed the tissue scars. As he talked about symptoms, we realized that he had been feeling it for the past year. He had fatigue (who wouldn't with his work commute and stress) but also had temporarily lost his vision in one eye a good 9 months before - again, another sign of M.S.

We cried. Mostly for the unknown. The kids. This was not in our picture.

I sat in the hospital parking lot weeping. I tried to call my mom's cell phone (so I DID have a cell phone!) She picked up and heard me crying. I could not get out the words.

She kept saying "honey, what is it" "what is wrong with Brian" "honey please tell me!" Finally, "mom, he has multiple sclerosis"
Mom says (with very relieved and light hearted tone ) "oh, is that all? oh, honey, we can do that"

Mom's voice, at ground zero and with correct perspective, "we can do that"

That is all it took. I stopped crying and thought, she is right. What a perfect response from a mother - I really hope I am like her.

I got back to the house and my dad was there. I told him the diagnosis - and he cried. That of course, got me crying again. But only for a short time because then comes the kids and you just have to smile and reassure and basically talk the truth. That God is in control and that they do not have to worry. I told them daddy will be home soon.

My dad had a yellow ribbon on his tree until mom got home.

I have to tell about the next day. It is so clear in my memory. Bria came with me to the hospital and so everyone was happy. Brian loved seeing his baby. The nurses loved seeing the baby Brian kept talking about!

We sat in the hospital room (he could go home once the steroids began to get rid of the numbing) and we watched Billy Graham give the memorial address for the victims of 9/11. It was all so right on. Again, our trial felt small. I drove home that night and our city was lining the streets with people holding candles leading up to the fire station. This looked so surreal to me as I was in the car playing a song Brian had wrote years earlier -

I will follow You, wherever you may lead
Through the darkest nights, times when its so hard to see
With your hand there in mine, I know you are with me all the time,
I will follow You.

I will follow you wherever you may go
To learn your truth, the things I need to know
I can call your name, for your never going to change
I will follow you
Yes, I will follow you


TAMI said...

You've put together a significant piece of writing from the deepest places of your soul. Thank you for sharing it with us.

With mind and heart set on God, the miracle that comes is one that let's the whirlwind do what it must, while our interiors remain mostly undisturbed because our focus is elsewhere - in the truths, as you've said.

Hannah Sivilay said...

wow what an expierience! Mom's are the best, so reassuring when our trials seem so impossible. I am sure you are going to be a mom like that. Thanks for sharing this.

Miller Family said...

Paula- you have had me in tears! Thank you for sharing a glimpse of your life. How precious to see Gods hand in it all.

The Limon's said...

Paula, I remember you sharing this story with me and as I read it again, I am still in tears. I am glad you wrote it down. God's mercies are new every morning! THanks for sharing this story.

emily said...

Thank you for finishing your story! What a beautiful testimony to your faith and your God.