The topics I’ve been covering here as my alter ego, Questrix, haven’t taken quite the direction I had anticipated when I set out to start a blog. Lately, my posts have been mostly dark and heavy. I’ve decided I’m okay with that – I want to write what is authentic; but I also want to reflect a positivity that is another facet of me, just as real, which hasn’t made an appearance for a while. This may seem an odd day for it – September 11th – but if you have the patience, I’d like to bring you on a journey with me that I took today. It bridged where I was in my last post – with my dad in the hospital – to this more hopeful place I find myself today.

I started the day not even really thinking about the date. I was focused on waking up early enough to get to the hospital while the doctors were still doing morning rounds so I could get as much information as possible on my father’s status. I was exhausted after yet another night of uneasy sleep. The latest bombshell had fallen the previous day while I left the hospital for a lunch break and to run some errands. During that three hour window, my father was placed in isolation so that when I returned in the afternoon I found his hospital door closed, taped over with a big X, and signs telling me I now must wear a gown and mask to enter. Good thing I hadn’t really been able to eat anything for lunch; that kind of surprise doesn’t really sit well on a full stomach.

Ready for a Visit

Naturally I was anxious to speak with the doctor(s) this morning. And from the beginning, the day started well. I walked in just as the primary physician came in. Good news! While, yes, he must remain in isolation until they can complete tests to rule out one more thing, everything else they were testing came back negative and they’re really just being extra cautious at this point. The pneumonia is responding well to treatment and all vitals are moving in the right direction. His underlying condition that precipitated the pneumonia in the first place can now be treated. He’ll be there a while but it appears he’s on the mend.

Heart…well, okay, maybe not yet singing, but maybe beginning to hum at little bit, I text my sister: “Tag. You’re it.” Our very mature hand-off from one dutiful and loving daughter to the other, and I’m on my way back home. Home to Washington D.C.

This is when it hits me that today is September 11th. Nine Eleven. It wasn’t that I was completely oblivious, it was just that there was so much other stuff going on that I hadn’t really given it much thought. It really bothered me that I hadn’t given it much thought. This was the first time since 2001 that this date hadn’t caused me to pause and reflect. Luckily, I had at least a couple of hours on the road in front of me, just me and my car and the open road, to reflect all I wanted. It turned out to be one of the most meaningful September 11ths for me since that first tragic day.

As I was leaving the hospital parking lot, my mind was spinning. With relief, with anxiety, with everything that is and has been going on. Tears welled up and started to flow down my cheeks. No sobs, not big waves of tears, just a slow trickle that started out of nowhere and ended within a minute or two. This is such a common occurrence these days that, honestly, I barely notice it anymore. But something about the combination of today’s date, being behind the wheel of my car, and that particular kind of tears triggered such a visceral memory that it stunned me. I was transported back to the days and weeks after 9/11/2001 when I was commuting to work and I would cry in just this way. The difference then was that you could look at the car next to you or in back of you and the odds were good that driver would be crying too.

That moment, that memory, gave me the glimpse I needed to remember that Hope is never lost. I just misplace it sometimes. I forgot where to look again.

Standing Still – Half Mast, 9/11/2012

I decided to detour on the way home and take some pictures, visit the D.C. monuments that I love. The symbols that help to remind me of that time when coming together as one to grieve and heal was played out on a national, even an international scale. It was the darkest time I had ever lived through and I couldn’t imagine a day when life would be normal again. But even in the midst of the tragedy, I had never been so warmed by the humanity I saw in my fellow man. At that very worst of times, I had the most faith ever in the goodness of people and what life had to offer.

Bringing me full circle to my new darkest time. In this past year, I have dealt with my own chronic illness, had my mother die suddenly, cared for my father who has been hospitalized almost as many months as he’s been home, lost my job and am still dealing with the resulting financial consequences. There are times I feel like I’m whining when I talk about it, and then I think on days like today – um, yeah, Suzy Sunshine, it’s bad. But on days like today, when I feel MOST like myself, MOST centered and focused on what really matters in life, I also think – I am blessed to have people who care enough to catch me when I fall (and even try their best to stop me from tripping in the first place!). I still believe in the goodness of people. Even on my worst days, I look people in the eyes on the street and smile and they always (well 99.9% always) smile back. I think that says a lot about a person’s insides.

So I’m putting this here for now…and if I forget, can someone remind me where it is?

Please remember where I put this!