The past 3 years has been a series of peaks and valleys for me. But life is much better now, although there will always be dark shadows that come to me in the night... but I've accepted that is a small price to pay compared to many.
I've marveled at how far I've come in 3 years. I met the woman of my dreams and we're engaged to be married. We bought a house together, so another dream of mine has been fulfilled. And I now live closer to my family again and I can regularly enjoy the company of my parents and extended family.
In a way, at 9:04 am on September 11, 2001, I began the journey of the rest of my life and for the first time in my life, I was more than simply living, I was alive and realized what a gift it was.
It has been a struggle though, and for a while, I feared nothing would ever be normal again. But, I kept repeating my mantra in my lowest moments, "If I made it out of there, I can make it through this." There are still bumps, but the worst stretch of bad road is behind me.
In ebbs and flows, the World Trade Center still comes to me. Once in a while it's a tingle in my fingers and toes, an anxious twisting in my stomach or short temper for no apparent reason, or the gut feeling that I want to run when I'm in a crowded shopping mall. The flesh raises on my arms whenever I watch a movie and someone falls from a building.... just another souvenir from Al Qaeda.
Most often, the planes come to me in the night. And the screams. And the gore. I can't remember the last time I slept through the night, but I know someday I'll sleep like normal folks do and the restless nights will fade into memory.
The World Trade Center is deep in my bones, which is infinitely better than my bones being in the World Trade Center.
It is amazing how 20 minutes of your life can sink in and not want to let go. It was so easy for the World Trade Center to get in, but it's so damn hard getting it out.