MY ELDER SON AND ME
My son’s graduation ceremony in September 2001, University College London, will never allow me to forget 9/11. Having travelled nearly half way round the earth, it was a very, very far way from home.
I was accommodated in the student dorm where I made friends with the other students and was happy and all excited about my trip. His friends were all very nice and friendly and were anxious to take good care of me, I was treated like their dorm mom – a really precious memory I will always cherish. I remembered his closest friends from St. Lucia, Greece and India – any time they found me I was always in the kitchen – LOL – well they loved that!
One of the girls rushed into the kitchen very perturbed, “come see this, I don’t think it real”. It was the first televised broadcast of the twin towers going down!
My first thought was – OMG – they are bombing NY – the world is at war! Will I ever get back home safely? Will I ever get to see my little son again?
I called home to Guyana, South America, immediately; they had no idea what was happening; I said turn on the TV, I think they are bombing the USA! I called NY – no one answered and I did not sleep for the rest of that day and the following until I got a response.
My closest relative, who worked in Manhattan, informed me that they were all safe. He described to me how he and his wife had both ran part of the way and walked the rest to get away from the city and to reach home to their kids.
It was very terrifying to me, my son and I were to board the plane a few days later back home to Guyana; my son insisted that he wanted to go to NY to check out some of his friends – make sure that they are fine. I was very unsuccessful in trying to persuade him otherwise.
The few remaining days of unrest and psychological turmoil did not do me much good, I lived in fear -- where next? - possibly London! But eventually I boarded the plane; the security at the airport was really tight; they were even following people around to wash rooms etc. I wondered disgustingly, if they had hidden cameras in the washroom! LOL!
The trip back home was troubled; I left my elder son back in London to board a plane a few days later to New York. How could I rest when he wanted a firsthand look of the now crumbled Twin Towers and his friends’ wellbeing - in such a dangerous circumstance? I realized now, more than ever, how much of a gem I have nurtured.
We are all safe home now – my elder son lives in New York and my baby's proximity is closer to me but we have all lived in the era of this event; it has changed the way we look at the world and power and we should all have learnt a great lesson.
There is a saying - "the higher we are the greater will be the fall": moreover, never for one moment think that the poor and weak is completely powerless; their power is such that it may be beyond the comprehension of those who think they are all powerful.