Where were you when 9/11 happened?

I was sitting in my mother’s van, outside my high school, listening to the radio beside her. We both sat in silence, forgetting everything about the immediate world around us. Between tears, horror, extreme sorrow, and fear, we both left that van different.

My mother drove away and went home to spend time calling those she loved and still had the ability to touch and hold.

I, on the other hand, spent the day in a daze, feeling helpless but driven to change the world. I was only in grade 10, so my capacity at the time, to understand my value to the world was vastly underestimated. I remember going home and telling my mother that I wanted to be the helper. That I needed, to one day, be the person who helps people who are hurt by these terrible events.

I have now been a paramedic for 11 years and I can say that 9/11 was a moment in my life that changed my mindset, permanently. It is important to remember that being a ‘helper’ doesn’t mean you have to be an emergency responder. Being a helper is a multi level role where even small impacts are just as meaningful as the large impacts.

Parameters matter less when you are helping from the heart.

What were you doing when 9/11 happened? How did it change your life? I ask these only as questions of reflection. On days like today, sharing is equally important as reflecting.

Photo by Willem-Jan Huisman on Unsplash