We all remember what we were doing on September 11, 2001 – where we were, who was there with us, what was happening around us. We remember our reaction, our feelings, a few snatches of conversation.
As the World Trade Center crumbled into dust, thousands of lives were snuffed out, and the face of the world changed forever.
A picture of a woman covered in that dust was all over the news. It was you, Marcy: a fragile, frightened figure, captured at the moment when your courage had carried you clear of the carnage. And the world knew you as the Dust Lady.
That day, your survival instinct took over. And survive you did, if only to endure fourteen years of suffering.
I’m terrified to imagine what you went through that dark day and the days that followed.
I wish I could have run into you on a New York City street corner. I wish I could have smiled at you. I wish I could have seen you smile back. I wish I could have had a cup of coffee with you and held your hand. I wish I could have told you that one day the nightmares would end.
But who am I to wish such a thing? Just another woman of the thousands who wish they could have shared in your humanity for a moment.
The image of you that I will always remember is your beaming face in a photo taken in 2014. It is the image of a smiling woman, her head held high, staring defiantly at the camera, perhaps with the same brave gaze with which she watched her life nearly slip away those many years before. Arms crossed in a defensive but self-assured pose. You had taken control of your life again. No longer a victim, you were a survivor. But months later, you would succumb to another enemy that would destroy your body from within.
Now that you have left us, you are no longer the Dust Lady that a dark day covered in a darker coat. Now you are a star. A star that shines among so many others, and one that I will not forget.
My thoughts are with your loved ones.
God bless you, Marcy.