028 | 365 Surreal memories

Imagine all the people living for today
Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

Imagine, John Lennon

Imagine, Strawberry Fields, Central Park, New York CityThis time 11 years ago is one that I will never forget.

I was in shock, grieving for my friend Rick who had died suddenly a few days before. In the afternoon I had been to view his body. Another friend, Tracey, had told me that it might help me with my grief. I’m not sure if it did. As I spent some time alone in the room with him, I imagined that he was breathing, felt like shouting out to others that he’s still alive. It was the air conditioning that I think gave that illusion. I didn’t know what to do. He always had a big cheerful grin on his face when he saw me and he’s asleep and emotionless but peaceful.

Tracey took me home via the pub for a beer. We had walked to the funeral home as it was close by and the pub was on the way home. Tracey thought I needed something to help me sleep, and I also hadn’t been able to eat.

The funeral was the next day. I just couldn’t believe it.

I sat in front of the television and dozed.

I woke to what I thought was a movie that I hadn’t seen before, one of those tragedy movies like towering inferno. However the movie seemed to be stuck. It was repeating the same scene. It was the news. They thought a light plane had just crashed into the World Trade Centre. As I’m becoming more alert, the live vision of the World Trade Centre remains on the screen and then another plane hits the other building. I thought I was seeing things, that perhaps they were showing footage of the plane that went into the other building but from a different angel, but it’s not. They are saying that there are reports of more high jacked planes. It’s 9am in New York, 11 September 2001.

It was so surreal. Did that really happen? Was it the news or a bad joke? I change channels and every station is the same. This is serious. Unbelievable. I continue watching and wonder. Rick leaves and the world falls to pieces.

The night Rick died I had a dream that felt so real.

Rick was in this dream. It was so real that I left a message on his phone asking if he had had the same dream. It was a wonderful dream. I woke feeling fantastic, full of love.

It wasn’t until I got home from work that day, my brother was waiting at my door for me to arrive home, that I knew. He had died suddenly while visiting his mum. She had thought he fainted, his last words “Gee Whiz”. It wasn’t for a few months until they found out he had Long QT Syndrome, which is genetically inherited and only usually detected when a family member dies suddenly or faints frequently.

From a dream that felt very real to a reality that felt very surreal.

Rick was a journalist. After the funeral, over a few drinks, we all wonder on Rick’s reaction to the events. How he would have reported it. We will never know, can only imagine.

It was terrifying to think about how the governments might act. How could we fight for peace, not war, after something like this?

That is now 11 years ago.

After going to the 9/11 Memorial site on my recent visit to New York, I expected it to be a solemn place, like when I went to Gallipoli. It wasn’t.  The Memorial’s reflective pools that sit in the imprints of the World Trade Centre with water falling around the sides, trees and grass and reflective buildings surrounding them gave me the feeling of positivity. I’m struggling to explain it now and explained it much better in my post on reflections, written shortly after visiting. But I think the city and it’s people have moved on. They are free. They know that every moment of every day is precious.

It wasn’t until entering the visitor’s centre on the way out that I remembered the feelings of that night, those few days/weeks. It wasn’t just the sadness of that event, it’s was also a strong reminder of how I felt about the loss of one beautiful person, Rick. The world lost a special soul when Rick died, and then lost a lot more a few days later on September 11.

Here’s wishing love and peace to friends, family and strangers.

Imagine peace!

014 | 365 Reflections

9/11 Memorial Pool

In Manhattan, New York City, there are many reflections. This includes buildings reflecting other buildings and traffic sounds reflecting off these buildings. It also reflects stories of its history, through its art and architecture. There are reflections of hard times and of good times in abundance, as this city is all about being big. It is the Big Apple after all.

Today, I visited the 9/11 Memorial with its two reflective pools on the sites where the two World Trade Centres stood. It is a beautiful place with the water sparkling and moving in it’s own rhythm as it falls. The noise of the water almost drowns out the noise from the street and building works around it.  And it is not only the two pools that offer reflections. There are reflections all around, in the buildings, in the water, in the erection of new World Trade Centres, the Museum around the site and the people who are visiting.

It was a moving place, but not a sad place. One thing that became apparent when going into the visitor centre on the way out of the memorial, viewing the photos and videos of survivors or loved ones of those who did not survive was a story of determination, respect, courage and love. It was a very positive place, on looking forwards and upwards.

This city is built on rock and its inhabitants are rock solid.

New Yorkers are lovely, friendly and warm. They will stop what they are doing to ask if you need help or to chat. As I haven’t been here before I wonder if this is how they were before September 11, 2001. In such a busy city where there is so much happening and so many people, locals go out of their way to help you and make you feel welcome.

New York City should be referred to as the Big Heart instead of the Big Apple.