Freedom means different things to different people. One of the actual definitions of freedom is “the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint”. Taking that definition literally, I guess one could say I am not free as I can’t act as I want without hindrance or restraint. Maybe it’s not an external hindrance, but my body is not free.
Yesterday, my body held out long enough so that I was able to get to the new Freedom Tower in downtown Manhattan. It wasn’t easy to arrange this, but but a friend drove me there and dropped me at the farthest point you were able to drive and I was able to walk the few hundred steps to actually touch the Memorial. From my earlier posts, I mentioned I was down there that morning on 9/11 when the unimaginable happened.
It was very moving and quite overwhelming. I haven’t been down to the Wall Street area since I was fired from my job and had to go on disability. I don’t know which memories were stronger, but they were all mixed in my mind. My previous life on Wall Street and the destruction of the World Trade Center. Both are very emotional and overwhelming on their own, add to it my vulnerability of being limited in my movements and it was an intense 30 minutes.
I felt my body tense as we approached the Memorial and I was dropped off. My eyes were darting to every side street and nearby store and my mind was wandering with what ifs.. What if my friend can’t park, what if I need help, what if I have to go to the bathroom before my friend returns. But once I made it to the Memorial and touched the sides and heard the flowing water, all of my worries about my vulnerabilities switched to the people who lost their life that day.
I wasn’t able to share the experience with my friend, as a parking spot was not easy to come by. So I waited on the nearby benches to be picked up and sat with my memories and my thoughts. I was disoriented and couldn’t figure out how the original WTC was where I was sitting. Back in 1986, I worked in the WTC for a year and up until the week before the attack I passed through the concourse several times a week. Just as many other people who worked downtown Manhattan did: whether it was for shopping or banking or eating or just passing through.
Life as I knew it changed slightly that morning, as I didn’t lose a loved one. I was left with a deep sorrow and definitely some emotional scars, but After about 6 months or so, my life pretty much returned to normal. My world ended in 2009.
We all have our life altering moments, some are widely publicized for the world to see and others are more personal. A terrorist didn’t take my life, but an illness did. An illness that leaves millions of people suffering every day.