September the 11th, 2001.
Think about how you felt on September the 12th.
It was all real.
The numb sickness of a new reality dawning-
it was all real.
But the sun insisted on rising and your lungs insisted on breathing and you could not say why.
Because it should not be.
The world had ended- yesterday.
Hadn’t it ended?
September 12th is actually not so sad for me- it’s my mother’s birthday. Today, my mom is 86 years old. She was born on the same day as her sister, Victorine, three years later than she. Today, as we celebrate with Mom’s choice of dinner- home made pizza (sort of home made- we buy a take and bake pizza and jazz it up with extra goodies), we will look at booking her a flight to Maine to visit Victorine (Aunt Vicky) and Aunt Florence (Flo), her 2 remaining siblings. My mom is one of 10 children born to a Catholic family in French Canada (Quebec) in the midst of a depression. She can recall vividly the events of her early life and I often hear the stories about her brushes with mortality (hospitalized and left alone there to be treated for pneumonia as a child, the time spent in a sanatorium with TB as a young woman). My mother made novenas to St. Anne, the mother of the Virgin Mary. When she recovered from TB, she made a pilgrimage to the basilica of St. Anne de -Beaupre to thank the saint for her intervention. My mother still makes novenas- always to St. Anne. She is our “go-to” saint. Sometimes, when I am anxious or hoping for a particular outcome in a situation, I will ask my mom to “talk to St. Anne for me”. I ask Mom because I’m betting St. Anne listens to her. When hurricane Irma looked like she was headed right for Pinellas county, my mom was feverishly praying and talking to St. Anne. At what can be described as the very last minute, Irma veered away from Pinellas county and traveled further east and inland. Make of that what you will. Mom had promised to make a pilgrimage back to St. Anne’s basilica if the saint would intervene on our behalf and spare us the destruction of the storm. That was the last time I put Mom on an airplane. She went up to Quebec and stayed with friends who accompanied her to the basilica and gave her a very nice stay at their home. I was nervous putting Mom on a plane alone. This year, I am very nervous. I’m not able to go with her and I don’t want her to wait too long to visit- my aunt Vicky isn’t very hale. So, like a nervous parent sending her child off to school alone for the first time, I plan and set up support for Mom to make the journey easier- arranging for her to be taken by wheelchair to her gate, getting her pre-checked for TSA, etc. All these things are rituals that will eventually take us down our last journey together. I hope I can make that trip an easy one for Mom. Maybe I’ll have a talk with St. Anne about it.