10 years ago, this September 11th I was living and teaching in London when my husband called the school I was working at. “I know you’re in the middle of teaching,” he said (London, as you know, is 5 hours ahead), “but America is under some sort of attack. They are saying that planes have hit the Twin Towers in New York. We’re talking to some of the guys who are in the building there now to see what’s going on” (my husband did then and still does work for Cantor Fitzgerald). As I tried to wrap my head around the enormity of what he was saying, my husband said one last thing that would forever haunt me. “Heather,” he said, “my father and my brother are in the building.”
My husband’s father ended up getting out but tragically his brother Todd (who also worked at Cantor) and most of his colleagues did not. Now that I am a mother, what I will remember most about that day is that after the building was hit, Todd made one phone call and that was to his mother (my mother-in-law). He told her he was OK and not to worry, that “Pop and I are alright” (we found out later that he had in fact, not talked to his dad and did not know if his dad was indeed ok). We will never know if Todd, at the time, really was alright and really did think his dad was safe too, or if in one last act of selflessness was attempting to comfort his mom. What I do know, now that I have two sons of my own, is that my children, no matter if they are 5 months, 5 years or 25 years-old as Todd was, will always be “my babies” and it is my hope that no matter how old they are, they know that in times of joy or fear, they can always call me.
I invite all of you to read the inspiring and moving conversation I had with my mother-in-law and two other women who lost loved ones on 9/11 in this month’s New York Family magazine.
If you would like to leave any comments for the women in the story you can do so here and we will make sure they see them.
Here’s to remembering, honoring and never forgetting.