Thanksgiving weekend of 2000, Rick and I were driving back from Las Vegas. While staring out the passenger side window I became entranced by the desert scenery. It was during that period that I channeled the following message:
The following year will be the worst year we ever face, personally. Before the year is over we will have lost one of our fathers. We will be tested on faith in ways we can’t comprehend.
While channeling was not something that was new to me, Rick had never been present for a channeling before this. He asked why I would say such a thing. I asked him what I had said, and he carefully repeated each of my words. While those words shook me, I understood that if I was being told this information, it was because there was something I could do about it.
Fast-forward to summer of 2001. I would frequently wake up in the middle of the night and research the atrocities against women and others that various terrorist factions who called themselves followers of Islam were perpetrating throughout the world. It hurt my heart greatly. Yet I couldn’t stop. I was compelled to read as much as I could. To try to understand.
Labor Day weekend 2001, 2 p.m. on a Friday, Rick calls me at work to tell me his father is receiving last rites in the high desert. His family was being called together to support each other during this period. He had no intention of making the drive (for those of you who understand … this was over the Cajon Pass on the Friday of the holiday weekend) – so I was home in 20 minutes and we were on the road in 40. While sitting in that parking lot they sometimes call the 15 Freeway, my father called.
He wanted to inform me that he had gone off his chemo meds nearly a year before, he was tired, he didn’t want to take any more meds – we were going to go see the oncologist on Tuesday, together. According to him, he “didn’t want me to lose my shit” when we were there. Also, he had decided he wanted to live. I remember being so angry, so hurt, so confused. I remember lashing out and telling him he may have taken that option off the table. Telling him we were on our way to Frank’s bedside, where he was receiving last rites.
Tuesday, September 11, approximately 6:30 a.m. PT, my father calls me and tells me to turn on the television. He tells me that life as we know it will never be the same. He’s crying. I watch in stunned silence for about five minutes. I tell him I’ll call him back. I knock on the bathroom door, where Rick is in the shower. I step into the bathroom. I can’t even articulate what has happened. I’m crying. I tell him to get out of the shower, get dressed. Come downstairs and watch what has happened. All I can say is it’s terrible, you have to see it. I can’t even begin to explain it.
We spend the next several hours on the phone with friends, family, work – comparing notes. Comparing feelings. Sharing comfort and terror.
Our worlds changed in an instant.
September 11 is five days before my birthday. There are things I do every year – Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, the Los Angeles County Fair. We went to each of these public venues and experienced an outpouring of human connection from those who ventured out in public. We had been warned that high-profile public locations were probably not safe at this time, but I needed the routine. I needed to be around other people. We shared meals with strangers. We embraced. We held hands. We cried on each other’s shoulders. We shared comfort and terror.
Rick lit a candle that morning. For five years he kept a candle burning on our hearth – 24/7. In remembrance. In honor. As a silent tribute and plea to God, the universe, our Angels and anyone else who would listen. A plea for peace. A plea for healing.
He erected a 10-foot flagpole in our front yard – an American flag has hung every day for 14 years, a memorial to our country and our first responders.
Rick’s father passed September 30, 2011. I remember thinking, “perhaps he’ll understand why this horrible thing happened.” I look back and know I was given the information not because I could change anything, but because I could prepare myself. I could find a place from which to dig deep in order to hold that place of peace for others.
Today is the 14th anniversary of that day that changed our lives. I remember where I was. I remember what led up to it. I know what has changed in my life.