In Memory of David Tengelin: Rachel Nash

Editor’s Note: The essay below was written in 2001 and appears in the self-published book, Through Our Eyes: A Tapestry of Words and Images in Response to September 11. Printed and distributed in 2002, the book was the result of an independent, volunteer documentary project organized by a journalist and several friends. The author’s bio was written in 2002 and has not been updated. 

Phoenix, Arizona

Rachel Anne Nash is not only a dedicated mother and wife, she’s also a wonderful friend. The 27-year-old was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and studied at Northern Arizona University. Today, she lives in Phoenix with her husband, Thomas, and son, Nolan. Rachel certainly keeps busy. While pursuing her master’s degree in educational counseling, she also works as a nanny and a part-time sales associate at the The Discovery Channel Store. She describes her interests like this: “I love being a mom; it was the best thing that happened to me. I love to read and travel and to cook. I also like road trips. My favorite foods are sushi, Thai and Mexican. Of all the places I have been so far, Santorini, Greece, and Venice, Italy, are my favorites.” On the morning of Sept. 11, Rachel was at home when her mom called asking if she was watching the television. “The first thing I thought when she told me the World Trade Center had been hit by terrorists was, ‘Oh my God. Swede works there!’” She wrote her essay Sept. 23.

It is difficult to find comfort and peace with life since the events on the 11th of September. When I think of what that day means to me, I get sad, angry, scared, and tearful. I also find myself at a loss. Not just for all the life that was lost, but I find myself at a loss for words.

My friend Swede was on the 100th floor of the first tower of The World Trade Center on the morning of September 11th. It is now the 23rd of September and today is the day that Swede’s family and friends are having a memorial service for him. His body has not been found. I think of Swede and I think of all the people who are now without their fathers, husbands, mothers, wives, sons, daughters, and friends. These people were all loved by someone. I don’t understand how the hijackers could be filled with so much hatred for people they didn’t even know. I don’t understand how God could let this happen. I don’t understand how one human could do this unthinkable, horrific action to another human being. I am in a state of not understanding and sadness.

As I ramble on, I realize there are not enough words to express how I feel. On the Friday after the attacks, I was in the store with my mother when I found a card that made me feel a little bit of comfort. It said, “Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.” – Anonymous

I know that life will go on. I know this because life is already going on with an eerie sense of normalcy. I also know this when I look at my son and he makes me smile and all the sad thoughts and feelings go to the back of my mind and heart. They are not gone. I know this because they float to the surface every now and then. I need to concentrate on the fact that I was honored and privileged to have known Swede, even if his life was cut short. The optimist in me would like to think that just like everything else in life, there was a reason this happened. Hopefully, something good and positive will come from this mess of emotions and the jumble the world has become.


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