It wasn’t 9/11, it was my grandfather’s death. In that Spring before the fall, before even the millennium party, he was carried out of the summer house on the rise of March’s first full moon. I stood in front of the third floor bathroom’s mirror and heard him calling me from his bedroom below. When I arrived, well, that vision shouldn’t be shared. But suffice it to say, it rattled me. Shook me to the core. But a few months later after leaving the shore to return to Miami Beach it was business as usual working some job I wanted but hated. Next stop, it was September shockwave after moving to Newark, and turning 30. Then Bush. And Miami Beach. And then mom's and dad's sickness. Philadelphia, clocking-in students. Then “Si se puede” in New Mexcio. Then Philly. Now home.
It wasn’t 9/11, it was seeing what diabetes could do, but not being able to take stock of what diabetes could do to "me" until I was sorely at risk of developing it myself. My grandfather was 80 years old, I was just 29, and I was doing okay, even though I'd gained back at least half of the 70 pounds I'd lost the first time I moved to Miami Beach back in the mid-90s. How could I picture myself, as an albeit hefty young man, struggling so much in the same way my father's father was struggling here? It would've been impossible to see the future, even had I wanted to. But somehow I shot directly toward that subconciouis goal, to age myself decades by burying myself in the layer of nearly a man-and-a-half's weight! Fortunately I didn't cross over to the "d" disease on my course.
I always told myself it was 9/11. But it wasn't. And it won't be 9/11 that will keep me on track as I "fit" myself back to health through a steady regime of diet, exercise, and a tight check on emotional decision-making. What will keep me on track? Everything that comes after this.
In case you're wondering, though, the thing that got me back on track after having been knocked off somewhere around either end of the big "M" was looking in my grandmother's eyes as she shared with me snippets from her life, and memories of the people she'd shared it with, as tears would well in her eyes (and surely she remembered much more than she shared of her many decades lived) during her final few months in 2009. Seeing through her eyes, and through her words, I came to realize that I was still alive, and connected to her, and to others who came before, and that no matter how dead I felt inside, I wasn't. Because it wasn't.
And I may have decades down, but God-willing, I have decades yet to live. Well, at least that's a possibility now. Before, back before I took steps to control what I can only describe as my emotion addiction to self gratification through destructive means, premature death would have been more of a probable end for me.