Sunday, September 11, 2011

Remembering 9/11

Frances Swann Thomas

Unlike some, our family did not lose a member in the 9/11 tragedy, but we felt the fear and uncertainty of the day along with its sadness. I remember clearly what I was doing that day--our own family tragedy was taking place. My mom (Frances SWANN THOMAS) was in a hospital bed where she had been, off and on, for the last nine months. That afternoon we were to meet with Hospice to set up care for her. The doctors had no hope for her surviving the cancer that had invaded her body. Each morning about 7 o'clock, I went to the hospital to relieve my sister (Nancy THOMAS SMITH) who sat with Mom at night. She would leave for work when I arrived and I would stay until she returned each evening. This was our daily routine. 

Mom would not allow us to play the television in her room because she said the sound hurt her ears. I was sitting in her room reading when she suddenly came out of a semi-conscious state, sat straight up in the bed, and cried out, "On no, they are flying planes into the buildings! The people are falling from the windows!" I quickly sent to her side and tried to reassure her that those things were not happening. I remember the look in her eyes. It was a look of impatience, one that told me without words, "Joan, you just don't understand." She settled down and I returned to my chair and book.

A few moments later, a nurse partially opened the door and motioned to me. She told me she knew the television would not be on in the room and that I probably didn't know what was happening in New York. I had no idea what she was referring to, but followed her into a vacant room. What I saw on the television was exactly what my mother had described. Airplanes were being flown into buildings and people were jumping or falling out of the windows.

I did not understand how Mom knew what was taking place as sounds from televisions or radios could not be heard through her closed door. I still don't understand. HOWEVER, she did know!
Four days later, September 15, 2001, Mom died.

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