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thought the impact of being thrown forward had "knocked her blind." She cried out for help and listened in the darkness and silence as no one answered her calls. She thought maybe she was the only person that had lived through the collapse. She wondered if she would ever see her family again. She wondered if she would ever see again. She wondered if she would bleed to death from the cuts she felt on her small thin body. Then she began to see red spots in front of her eyes as she stared into the darkness. She looked into the red spots until she could make out two dim lights in the distance. She walked towards the lights through the darkness and the putrid air. When she reached the source of the lights she found they were from an abandoned police car. She reached through the broken window, picked up the radio and tried to call for help. The woman on the radio could hear her but she wasn't certain she could respond. That's when she finally saw another human being, a reporter. The reporter, a man she remembers only as Pat, came to her and immediately put a microphone to her face, asking her questions which she tried to answer. As the reporter was talking with her, Mayor Giuliani passed by with a group. Pat left to try to get the Mayor's attention. She said she watched them walking away and realized they weren't going to come back to her. Worried about her wounds, she wandered on until an EMS worker saw her, rushed her to his van and immediately gave her oxygen.
Jane said she was the only person the EMS took to St. Vincent's Hospital in the van. In the emergency room, three doctors worked on her wounds for hours. There weren't any other patients from the disaster in the emergency room at that time. They dressed her wounds and gave her stitches in numerous places. The nurses had to cut off her new Banana Republic pants and change her sheets because they found she'd been lacerated by the rocks she'd landed on. Thankfully, none of the wounds was life-threatening. They put her in a room with a phone and told her to use it to call anyone she needed to get in touch with. Phone service was intermittent, but she called every number she could remember and finally reached one friend. In the meantime, she had the room television to watch. She was shocked to find out that two airplanes had hit the World Trade Center.
Her roommate came to the hospital and took her home later that afternoon. That's when I saw her, shortly afterwards when I stopped by her apartment. She weighs 100 pounds and looked like a small angel in the green hospital gown she was still wearing as we hugged.
Jane said that the two fellow employees that stopped to help the older woman didn't get out alive. She said she went to therapy several times with a group of other survivors. The therapist told her that some people have breakdowns within weeks, some months, and some have breakdowns years later. She was waiting for her breakdown to happen. She finally realized after a few weeks that she had survived the attack. She was alive. She became aware of her strength. She took a trip home to visit her family in California, thinking that maybe she would move home again since her work within her company could easily be done in either the California or New York office. She said she regrouped, she rested and then she came back to New York. After a few weeks she said that most importantly she realized that she loved herself and life. Then she realized that she loved New York. She was staying. She was a New Yorker.
She went to several more visits with her therapist. The therapist noticed that Jane was always happy. Finally the therapist told her she didn't think that there was really any need for her continue the visits. Jane asked about the impending break down. The therapist told her that "some people break down, some people have a breakthrough". Jane is one of the lucky ones.
Life will never be the same. It can be better. Jane weighs one hundred pounds, the World Trade Tower was more than 200,000 tons of steel. Our spirits are weightless, more mighty than steel. United we stand against terrorism and fear.
Editors Note: If you enjoyed this story let us know. If you would like for Readio to feature other stories about New Yorkers and their daily lives (unrelated to 9/11) please include this in your email. Please email the editor : email@example.com
Photos were taken from the window and rooftop of Readio's offices in Greenwich Village.
Author: W. McCormick
Photos: Readio® New York City
Copyright: Photos ©2001
Copyright: "Breakthrough" ©2001