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Change in Time

9-11-TRIBUTE By Cathy Jameson

Since I do a lot of driving here, there and everywhere to get my son to his therapies, I have a good amount of thinking time to brainstorm ideas.  Some of the ideas are for my typical family needs.  Most of them involve my son and his special needs.  I’ve been kicking an idea around in some of those quiet driving moments for a few months now, but hadn’t been inspired yet to put it on paper.  It’s about the word present.  Present has several meanings.  The one that I was reflecting on is “the period of time now occurring.”

Present.  Now.  This very moment.  In my life, a moment can include a flash of frustration or a jump for joy.  Depending on what Ronan is doing in a specific moment triggers an emotional response from me.  I realize more and more that whatever mood Ronan is in, I too am in a similar mood.  His happy moments are quite enjoyable to experience.  Those include hearing Ronan finally saying a word after going weeks without uttering anything.  It feels like a hug full of kindness for something fun I’ve done with Ronan.   Those joyful moments are ones that pepper both of our days and can last several minutes with much whooping and hollering.  When happy present moments happen I relish them along with the expression Ronan offers me as he realizes he too is happy.  

Just as I witness the happy moments, I live through Ronan’s struggles.  If he is unhappy or ticked off at something, so am I.  Present can feel like an eternity when one of Ronan’s loud, disruptive negative behaviors lasts for three, four or five minutes long.  It feels one hundred times longer when that happens with multiple eyes staring at us when we’re out in public.  Eternity is how long it takes Ronan to move a hard and constipated bowel movement.  Add the watching of the clock to see how long it takes to return to the softer and daily BMs; that’s an eternity and a half!  Those present moments are ones that I would rather fast forward but unfortunately get stuck in. 

Awhile ago something caught my eye when I looked at the word present.  I had a list of tasks ahead of me that were going to be monumental in order to complete.  I had so much work to do for some personal issues that Ronan’s daily needs were becoming cumbersome.   I’ve gotten used to the intensity of some of Ronan’s care, but the frequency of them started to wear me down.  I couldn’t shake some of the negative reactions I was having.  My frustration level was growing and my heavy sighs were more audible.  I wanted to be done with this marathon healing process it’s taking to get Ronan to recovery.   Why can’t he just skip right through all of the trials, the setbacks, the exorbitant fees for care and instead go straight to recovered? I started to resent the work it takes to make every day somewhat successful.  I started to resent the costs to find the right people to help him.  I started to resent what has been taken away from Ronan, from me and from my family. Resent.  It’s a very strong feeling.  It’s also part of that word present that I keep thinking about.

Around the same time I really started to resent how much work I do for Ronan, the news reports of the September 11th anniversary were being aired.  It’s a haunting time of year for many people, me included.  I can barely look at images or videos of the Twin Towers and the other attacks.  Our nation held its breath for what seemed like an eternity while we watched the unthinkable unfold.  I didn’t think I was ready to relive those terrifying moments again.  But then, something about the 9/11 victims’ personal stories hit me hard. 

How trivial of me and my negative thoughts about taking up Ronan’s care!  He’s here.  He’s in front of me.  He still has a chance to make it through life.  The victims’ stories are filled with who they were, where they lived, what they did and who they left behind.  Emotional agonizing memories were filling the stories as tears were filling my eyes.  Families and friends who were killed in the attacks only have their past to hold onto.  Old memories are the only memories.  Their loved one doesn’t physically fill their present moment.  They might continue to warm the thoughts of their past, but it will always be the past. 

The past.  They cling to it. The present.  They work through it.  The future.  They very easily could resent how it was ripped to shreds and taken away that awful day ten years ago.  

The families of the terrorist attacks created tributes to remember what life was like before the attacks.  They remember how their loved one lived, how life was good, how it was going to hopefully be and how it was what they thought was their only.  I can’t fathom the pain, the anger and the emptiness the families must go through each and every day.  I can’t imagine how difficult it’s been for those families because the pain they suffer may never have an end.  It makes me wonder when, or if ever, they will be able to muster hope for the future.   It also makes me realize that through every present moment I have with Ronan, I have the choice to make those moments last.

I want the present I live now to be so much easier even though it’s proving to be a test of my will and my strength.  I have cried for what was done to Ronan.  I cry during the present when Ronan realizes how hard life is for him.  I cry thinking about a future that I sometimes fear.  Right now, Ronan is part of every moment of my life, good and bad.  Because of this week’s many reminders of how quickly life can change in an unfortunate instance, I want to make a decision to take a step outside of the resentment I sometimes plant myself in.  I know I should leave behind parts of Ronan’s past even though I still grieve for it.  I know I can remember happier memories I have of his life before his struggles ruled many moments of my day.  I should do this now and do it before I lose sight of why I was willing to start working so hard for Ronan in the first place. 

Who knows when our present will be stopped short or altered without warning.  Who knows how it will affect us and if we will be able to handle those changes.  I have a past I can choose to leave behind.  Some people haven’t been given the chance to do that.  I pray that the 9/11 tributes give families hope and support to make it through today to find tomorrow.  The unforeseen changed parts of their lives that they may never get back.  I feel fortunate that I have been given the chance to live in the present with my son.  If I can remember to keep my strength, my faith and some hope alive, I will continue to walk a path toward Ronan’s future. 

Cathy Jameson is a Contributing Editor for Age of Autism.




I lost my very close cousin and godfather of my Daniel in the IHOP shooting of guardsman in Carson City 2 weeks ago. Thank you for writing this because after a decade of what you've described and two tragic losses this year, I appreciate new perspective. I did not realise that resentment was exactly what I have been feeling lately. Now that Daniel is 12, I need to refocus...the way I was in the first 5 years,and begin living in the present again and start to heal.
Thank you friend.


My heart is so full for the gifts I've been so blessed with, friends like you who always seem to have the words and then, the ability to share them. Love you, friend.


Hold your loved ones close, Cat. Your arms are always as full as your heart.


If 911 was Autism in America ....

They would do a foreign study of thousands of Moslem passengers on dozens of foreign planes and compare crash rates to determine if flying was safe in America with just a few suspect passengers on board....

Of course, such a study would prove the four plane crashes in America that day to be a coincidence. Cell phone calls from planes by parents would be interesting antidotes... and be place on file.

Donna L.

What a beautifully poignant message. Thank you, Cathy.


There is another side to 9/11 that is often forgotten. I was heartened to hear it mentioned though this morning on CNN, and that is the health of the first responders. Many who run bravely to help others that day came down with horrific diseases. Ten yeas later officials still question whether the cancer rates are higher in this group of people or not. Some would do anything to deny coverage for these people instead of doing the right thing. These are the people who don't have their name carved in marble. We have to make sure that their stories and heroism will be remembered, and that they get the treatment they deserve.

On this special anniversary, I also think of the idea of blowback, the unintended consequences of our actions in the world. - I want to make clear however that is not to excuse for a minute what happened on 9/11.
I think of children in Africa vaccinated at gun point by Western needles and vaccines. I think of the collateral damage of our "war on germs". The millions of young children with chronic illnesses in countries that are not equipped to deal with them. I fear the future where millions of angry young men with learning disabilities and without prospects for jobs take to the streets or act out in desperate ways.

kathy blanco

Rest in peace all these souls, but how can they? When the truth of why is still being foiled by our government...hmm, why do I live in a parallel universe? I mean, the "official explanations" of that day are still not forthcoming. And why is that? Because when people learn what really happen, some amount of anarchy might ensue. I am not kidding when I say, the same will happen when they finally tell everyone they created this epidemic because no one wanted to admit they were poisoning our children and damaging them with viruses, retroviruses and contaminants, either on purpose or by some ommission of facts. I want the truth. It's not that I don't know the truth, it's that I want to hear it from THEM. And then, I want consequences paid, just like my child had to pay for them with lifelong servitude to autism.

Chuck Hancock

For me, my sincere hope is that the anniversary of 9/11/01 is never forgotten. It’s now ten years since, but, for me, it seems like yesterday.

That fateful morning I was at work, in Washington, D.C., working in a building about a city block away from The White House. What a crazy surreal morning. When getting coffee at a place with a TV I saw that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings, but the coverage at that point initially treated it like an off-course Cessna-type pilot had the misfortune of hitting the building. Well, within the course of approximately a half hour, our world had changed, FOREVER. A bit later, from the office window of my boss, I could clearly see the rising smoke coming from the Pentagon. Right about this time, people sorta figured out, some serious sh*&t was going down.

Throngs of people poured out of virtually every single building in D.C. Many cars clogged the roads. Gridlock was well represented. Many people, myself included, were leary of getting on the “Metro” [D.C.s subway] and instead just began to walk. It was like in a movie, the “masses” were just….walking. Strangers were friends – “You hear anything??,” “Is it safe in Virginia, Maryland?” People walked for hours. Myself, and a co-worker I barely knew – now inextricably intertwined because of that day – began walking, in the general direction of home. Home for me was about 25 miles away. We walked about a mile, and ended up in a bar. He had coffee; I had a beer. We watched the crazy unreal events on the TV behind the bar. We walked one or two more miles, then, figuring it must be safe, jumped on the Metro, and traveled to our destination – Home.

Home never felt so good, and yet so, unreal. Our country was under attack. Wrapping my head around that was a tough one. Though, not nearly as tough as watching the events of the day unfold, and viewing with absolute attention as it was revealed to America how many of “us” had been either killed or hurt. I was, among other things, scared, angry, upset, and sorrowful; the emotions were endless.

Today my hope is that the majority of people – Americans – will take the time to remember the tragic events of 9/11/01. No two people will remember the same way. That’s understandable. We must never forget the horrific attack on our country on 9/11/01. We must always remember. NEVER FORGET.

David Taylor

Cathy--It was indeed the "unthinkable" that happened that day. So unthinkable that even today we live in denial about it.

The autism tragedy in my family and in America, as well as the 9/11 tragedy, have taught me much about denial, about the power that officialdom can exert over our beliefs and actions, and most of all about the importance of seeking the truth on our own, outside of the dogma of control.

That day as I watched the needle go into my infant son's thigh as I helped to hold him down, the voice inside me was screaming that something was wrong. But I listened to dogma and indoctrination instead of myself.

Never again.

Best wishes to you and your beautiful Ronan--

Angus Files

In a time where church leaders preach forgiveness

I for one Do Not Forget - I Do Not Forgive: These are Luxuries I don`t have.

The lies are still being told and the babies are still being murdered by vaccines I fight on..

RIP 9/11


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