Sunday, September 11, 2011
It's been ten years since that fateful Tuesday morning when my life, along with countless other lives were blown apart and changed forever.
Many people lost their lives that morning as those planes slammed into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the field in Pennsylvania.
I can still hear the sounds from inside that building, the unearthly moans of the steel as it pulled away from the concrete.
I've had nightmares of being trapped, of watching Bella being buried under the rubble and I've even had dreams of my children being buried in the rubble.
I guess they'd call me one of the lucky ones, who made it out, even though I wasn't able to walk for a while. I should've been thankful that I was alive, but I wasn't I resentful and very hateful.
I'm glad Bella left me when she did, if she wouldn't have I don't think we would be together now.
We've been married nine years today.
She was so loving and patient with me during those dark days, until I finally pushed her away.
I'm sure if she didn't leave we would not be here now.
We have three kids, Daniel is our first born, he's 9 now, then we have Shelby Elizabeth who is 6 and Hunter Michael who is 3.
Since it is the ten year anniversary of 9/11, we decided that we would take the kids down to the WTC site and let them see where it happened, and see the memorial's, and I wanted to leave flowers for Riley.
I've never forgotten him, but through counselling I've come to accept that I was not responsible for his death.
It took me a long time to realize that.
I held a lot of guilt for his death, that I shouldn't have been carrying.
Nothing that happened on that day was my fault.
It was a very somber event going back there today, I've only been back once with Bella and that was a few years after it happened.
I had a panic attack and she had to practically drag me away from there.
Which was hard for her to do being pregnant.
Bella was such a strong woman, even today she's gotten the kids ready as I mentally prepared myself to go back there again.
"Dad, mom wants to know if you are ready?" Daniel asked as he came into my office.
"Yeah son, tell her I'll be right there."
I could hear him yelling to Bella that I was coming.
I walked down the hall looking at the pictures that Bella put up, they started from our first date, all the way to the day we were married and the births of our children.
I couldn't help but think how differently things may have been if we didn't find our way back to each other or if I didn't come back at all.
Bella would have been a single mother to Daniel, since he was conceived on or before 9/11.
I joined my family at the door and Bella turned to me and gave me a smile.
"You okay?" she asked.
"As good as I can be."
We piled into the car and I drove us into the city.
We got there long after all the ceremonies were finished, so there were people there but not a lot.
I parked and we got out.
Bella held Hunters hand as I took Shelby's hand in mine and Daniel walked beside me.
"It's okay, daddy. Mommy said I had to be your rock right now."
I just smiled down at my little girl, who was the spitting image of Bella.
"Thanks baby girl," I said as we walked toward the reflecting pools.
It was a beautiful day, no clouds just a blue sky.
As we walked along, I released my fears over being here and let go of the guilt and anger that I felt over everything.
I laid the flowers for Riley down where other flowers were placed.
We walked around for a bit, and Bella sat next to one of the reflecting pools with Hunter and Shelby as Daniel stood reading the memorial plaques.
I watched my family from where I was and I was truly grateful to have been spared on that day.
Bella came up to me and slipped her arm around my waist as I stood looking at the site.
"Are you okay?" she asked softly.
"I am. I think I've made peace with everything. I'm glad we brought the kids here," I said.
I looked around at everything and then turned to the beauty by my side, "Ready love?"
"Whenever you are," she said as she slipped her hand in mine and we gathered the kids. "Can we go to Starbucks before we drop the kids off with Alice for the night?"
"Anything you want, love."
I kissed her cheek and held her close.
"Thank you for standing by me, even when I didn't deserve it."
"You're welcome, but I couldn't have left forever even if I wanted to. You're my soulmate, Edward. I'd be lost without you."
"Mommy, is it time to give Daddy the card?" Shelby asked with Daniel standing with her and Hunter.
Shelby handed me a card and I just stared at it for a moment.
"Open it," she whispered.
I ripped the envelope open and read the outside of the card.
It was your ordinary anniversary card, but what was on the inside brought me to my knees once again.
"Are you serious?" I asked as I looked into Bella's eyes.
"Yes," she whispered as she placed her hand on her stomach.
I couldn't have been happier at this very moment.
"I love you so much, Bella. What a way to celebrate our anniversary and our life."
"I love you too. Are you sure you are happy with us being pregnant again?"
"I'm completely happy. You're incredible and amazing. You've made my life unforgettable."
We stood there huddled together with our children as we watched the sun slip behind a cloud, casting shadows over the ground as we walked back to our car.
What an unforgettable day, and an unforgettable life we've had.