Peel Back the Layers by Eileen Adler
This day is seared into many of our memories. We know exactly what we were doing and where we were. I was up earlier than usual because I had a child-study team meeting scheduled at 7:30 at my elementary school, an hour before the first school bell would ring. A child-team meeting involves all the stakeholders, educators, and family members to develop an IEP – individualized education plan, and these meetings typically occur before the school day begins. As the reading teacher, I was invited to attend.
The phone rang early that morning, never a good sign, and I assumed the call would be from my family because my 95-year-old father had surgery the day before at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City; my worst fears might be realized with this phone call. I immediately picked up the phone on the first ring hearing my older son’s voice telling us to turn on the television; we did. I don’t remember the exact moment in the terrorist attacks we witnessed but moving forward with the day became an ominous task . . . my thoughts about my father ran wild, and the attacks on the World Trade Center were devasting. My father was supposed to be discharged on that Tuesday morning but that all changed as no one could travel into the city; he was hospitalized for most of the week. In the meantime, I raced to the elementary school, slightly late, and mostly overwhelmed. That day and many following days were never to be the same again. I can’t begin to imagine the horror the families faced. Does time heal all wounds? I don’t think so, but the memories take on new meaning. My dad survived the surgery but passed away nine days later.
Self-care Ritual: Our memories make us who we are, each one adding another layer.
Peel back the layers and remember someone special.
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