July 19th, 2001, the day before my son's first birthday. Some family members were already in town for the special day, more family members were scheduled to arrive later in the day. It was to be a happy time, a good time. It was to be a time of family coming together to celebrate the 1st birthday of the first member of the next generation. How quickly things change.
I had recently completed a project and had taken to working from home while between projects. On this day, I was at home with family - mom, step-dad, wife, and son. Sometime in the late morning on July 19th, 2001, I received a phone call from my boss. This in of itself was not unusual. After all, he would regularly call for one reason or another, and typically it was to tell me that I was going onto another project at a client location 1-2 hours drive from home...not a call that I enjoyed receiving. On this day, however, when the phone rang and my wife answered, I knew immediately who it was and that it was not going to be a pleasant call. There had been a layoff and I had been let go. On the bright side, I would be paid through the end of July (yippee! that makes all the difference in the world...).
So there I was, freshly unemployed with family in from out of town and more arriving later that day. I was shocked, I was mad -- I didn't know what to do. Ok, the obvious thing to do was get a new job, but that wasn't going to happen that day or even that week. In the meantime, how do I deal with all these people around? How do I deal with friends and family at the house on the Saturday for the big birthday party? When do I get to deal with the emotions that I was sure to have from being laid off? I had to be strong, for my wife's sake. She didn't need the stress. I had to be happy, after all, I didn't want to ruin the party. At the same time, I needed to grieve and be pissed off.
That afternoon, as more family was arriving, I took a short bike ride to blow some steam. I rode as hard and as fast as I could. I don't know that it helped. In the following days and weeks I held the emotions in as they were nonproductive in my search for a new job. Within a couple of weeks I had an interview with a company in Texas. Within a week after the interview I had a job offer. Within two weeks of the offer I was getting ready to go to Texas to work. I had still not let my emotions over losing my job out. Some might argue that I didn't need to at this point, because I had another job. Either way, they stayed bottled up inside. Additionally, I was now feeling the stress of trying to sell our almost new house, moving and starting a new job. Resentment and new anger were building over the fact that I had to leave my home in Colorado for this job. I was angry that I would no longer be in Colorado, I was mad that I was not going to enjoy my house that we had lived in for less than 6 months. Still, the emotions stayed bottled up inside.
Then September 11th happens. I have grieved, I've been sad, I've cried, and now I am angry. I am angry because now I am fearful. I am not afraid of dying, I am not afraid of war. I am afraid for those that I love, especially those who are so young and innocent. I am afraid of the world that my son will grow up to know -- a world of terror, a world of hatred, a world of war, a world of fear. I fear that one day my wife will head off to work and my son to school and that it will be the last I see of them.
That pisses me off.