Albers: When the Universe Smacks You in the Face.

Written by Amanda Albers

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I recently saw an e-card on Facebook that said something along the lines of “Telling a person that there is always someone else in the world that has it worse off than them is like telling them there feelings don’t matter.” How true is this! More about this in a moment.

I have the humbling privilege to be a short hour-long drive into one of the greatest cities in the world, New York City. While we don’t go as often as we should, I rarely leave the history and cultured filled concrete jungle without a new-found sense of what life is all about. This past week while my sister and mom were visiting we made a trip to the city to see the 9/11 Memorial.  My husband was with us and helped navigate us to the area, since he had been once before.

From afar you think that the reflecting pools are out in the open where people can just walk up, pay their respects and take in what the area is now. But that’s hardly the case. The whole area is under construction still, an area that encompasses multiple city blocks. There are construction fences everywhere you look and although street vendors are showing pictures of what the very piece of cement you are standing on looked like on that fateful day, you can’t even begin to comprehend where it is you are actually standing.

Once we made it through a security routine that fell one step short of boarding a plane because we were able to keep our shoes on, we entered the memorial park. It’s an open area filled with swamp white oak trees and one Callery pear tree known as the “Survivor Tree”, a tree that was recovered from the wreckage that day and nursed back to life.  There are two reflecting pools, one in each footprint of the two buildings that fell that day. The names of all the people whose lives were lost surround each pool, arranged in a specific way based on requests of family members, groups of firefighters and so forth.

As we walked up to the second reflecting pool I had flashbacks of when my husband originally saw the memorial and texted me a picture of a name on one of the pools. It was the name of a woman and her unborn child. I was pregnant with our third child at the time and living an eight-hour drive from my husband.  Probably the hardest point in my life.  I remember having the feeling of “someone else always has it worse”.

As I came back to reality I glanced at the names closest to me and of all 3,000 names engraved on the pools, in front of me was the name of the same woman and her unborn child that my husband took a picture of and sent me two years prior. And there I stood staring at this name, pregnant with our fourth child.  Coincidence? Not a chance of 1 in 3,000. That day Something or Someone larger than I could ever be was sending me a distinct message. Will I ever really know what the complete message was? Probably not, but I’ve taken a shot at figuring it out. Instead of thinking what I had previously thought, I decided that this memorial is not to be remembered in that manner. I decided that as humans, it is inevitable that someone always has it worse, that’s life. SO instead of saying “someone always has it worse” what this statement needs to actually say is “Breath in every moment you have been GIVEN for it can be lost when least expected.”

Amanda Albers is a former Toledoan raising her family on the East Coast in New Jersey.

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