Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of visiting my former colleagues at Bridges, a mental health clinic that I worked at in Milford, CT prior to September 11th. As a clinical social worker, I joined their staff in 1994 and was part of a interdisciplinary team providing counseling services to adults and families. I launched their campaigns to promote awareness about the National Depression and Anxiety Screenings days in October and May. During my time at Bridges I attended a conference, where a woman who lost her daughter in Oklahoma City spoke about the affect of the bombing on the Oklahoma community. Her powerful presentation influenced me to begin researching the literature on working with families impacted by traumatic events. Oddly enough I threw the materials out on the Friday before 9/11.
On the morning of September 11th, my husband called me after speaking with our son Brad who was working in the south tower of the World Trade Center. Brad called to assure us that he was “ok”, but was frightened because he “had seen people falling from the 90th floor…all the way down”. After speaking with my husband, I immediately went to a television in an adjoining building with the director of our agency. As we entered the room, we watched in disbelief as the second plane flew into the south tower, where my son worked on the 89th floor. The image will forever be etched in my mind, as it will be for so many who witnessed the event from around the world. That was a turning point in my life, both personally and professionally. My colleagues drove me home and I never returned to the clinic. As it turned out, I thought it was important to focus my energies instead on creating Voices of September 11th.
As I spoke with my former colleagues at Bridges, it was a time to reflect about how my training and the work at Bridges has influenced our work at VOICES. Rekindling old friendships was also a comforting reminder of the people who helped our family – from my co-workers and friends who provided ongoing support and understanding, to all of the family members, survivors and rescue workers we work with every day.
Each of you have your own personal stories about how the events of September 11th has changed your life. And how family, friends and sometimes perfect strangers have supported you on your journey over the past ten years.