9/11 rudely interrupted… and changed our lives. Forever.

Where were you when the towers fell?

Hard for me to forget the day when tragedy struck.

Those were depressing times for our family. My mom was in and out of Makati Med for an increasing number of ailments… each time, making her progressively weaker.

What’s worse, she was now undergoing dialysis for long hours each day. (A feeble attempt by a machine to try and replicate the important functions that her kidney could no longer perform.)

On that fateful day, I had gone to visit my mom and had lunch with her. Adobong pusit – yung maraming itlog (fish-roe like thingys)… if I remember right. Conveniently, my recording studio was in the same condo where she and my sisters stayed – a mere three floors separated us.

Like my siblings, I took the extra effort to act positive and cheerful in her presence… though I knew that my beloved mother had been issued an invisible TRO “writ” (Time Running Out) by whoever is in charge of these matters up there.

With each visit, my siblings and I tried our darndest to show Ma how much we love her.

That September day, I shared some scribblings of a song I was writing. A rough work in progress… but I read her a few lines…

Here you go again - ready to give up,
Feeling so pressured again... enough is enough
Believe it or not, you're not alone
Evryone's hope is running thin
But it's never as bad as it seems
Just believe, things can only get better
Just believe, your spirit can soar higher
Just believe, tomorrow can shine brighter
All you got to do is... just believe

The lyrics elicited a smile on her face… and I went home happier than usual.

I turned on the TV set to CNN while I attacked the work I brought home with me.

Suddenly, the screen was filled with these terrible images.

I felt a deep sense of loss, a kind of sadness not dissimilar to drowning… a feeling that I’ve never felt before.

Called up my mom right away. Said ‘I love you’.

And, remember the song I read to her earlier in the day? It wrote itself within minutes. “Just Believe”… performed by a new, young artist named… Sarah Geronimo.

Some time later, I stumbled upon this short note which eloquently cqptures what the whole world collectively felt on that sad, sad September day – now etched in our minds as 9/11.

“If not now, when?”

Instead of getting up each morning and “putting my nose to the grindstone,” I look around me and decide what will bring me the most fulfillment and joy during the day. It’s a kind of “If not now, when?” switch in thinking. My visits with my daughters are more precious than ever — and I saw them regularly at their colleges this year. I make time every week to take walks by the ocean. I don’t put things away for “special occasions” anymore. If I get a beautiful scented candle as a gift, I burn it and enjoy it. The same with fine soaps and gourmet foods. Life is to be lived. If there is something you’ve always wanted to do, do it now.
Christiane Northrup, M.D., author


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