Today is the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, which means it will be 14 years we’ve been without you in a couple weeks. While I watched the horror and anguish that day I was all the more crestfallen knowing there were thousands of people joining my rank as the newly bereaved. 14 years. Long enough that there are children who learn of 9/11 in a text book and can’t fully comprehend the horror of the day and children have been born in our family for whom you are like a mythical creature. They’ve all heard stories about you but can’t picture you at a family gathering. My children. Gary’s children.
It’s been long enough that, even though I don’t know how time works in eternity, when I offer a prayer for your soul I imagine it’s probably already been cleaned, polished and admitted through the gates ages ago and ask that in that case the good Lord apply those intentions to the least prayed for soul in purgatory. I’m sure the Almighty appreciates my I dotting and T crossing. When that poor Protty gets there, give him a hug for me.
That time heals all wounds line is a big ole pile of crap. The wound of losing you has never and will never heal. It’s just changed. As a teenage girl I expected you to pop around a doorway in the hospital, my frantic mind selfishly thought “What do I do now?! Drugs? Drink? Will I become a bitter, drunken malcontent living on the edge?!” That was what I knew of tragic, untimely loss. The stuff of best sellers, and Lifetime movies. Children who lost parents spiraled out of control. The fresh wound had me aching to hear you yell “Kwiiisssyyy” up the stairs. It caused me physical pain when I thought of never feeling your arms around me. It made me cry when I went to Mass so that I eventually stopped altogether. Heaven help me the times I woke up at night and my mind wandered into the territory of what if we were wrong, what if you were alive and screaming in that box while I lay in my bed. Thanks for the fairy tales, and the imagination, by the way. It was an oozing, unbearable, festering sort of wound that I thought would consume me.
But it didn’t. The wound now is a scar, bone deep. The kind that aches when it rains. Like it did last week when I turned 32 and thought “My God, what if I only have two years left?” The thought didn’t make me feel all Tim McGrawy, I don’t want to go skydiving and I probably wasn’t any nicer to Stephen than any other day ( you’d like him but I hope you two don’t meet for a good long while). It did make me want to write more down and be in more pictures so if he or my children are ever without me they still have something. Because I don’t have enough tangible evidence of you.
It aches when my daughter cries that she’ll miss me when she leaves for school in the morning and I tell her I know just how she feels.
It aches when I don’t have you to complain to, or cry to or laugh with; a loneliness that’s always with me. I try not to dwell to much on it but the only created being on the earth who knew me inside and out is now with the Creator.
The scar began to crack and bleed a bit a few weeks ago when I walked Dad down the aisle in your stead. When it came time for what would be the mother-son dance I held your baby boy in my arms and waltzed him around to “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” because that’s what he has. There’s no replacing you. I would have moved from my lady like tears to an all out snotty blubber had the 3 awesome little girls that are your granddaughters not joined us. The pain subsided.
I’m back at Mass on Sundays and when I’m moved to tears they’re not always of sadness. I wake the kids in a brightly annoying voice every morning. When I’m lonely for a sympathetic ear I pray and know you’re praying along with me. Your love is now perfected there in the Glory of God and your prayers keep me from spiraling out of control. In that way you’re still holding my hand as I wade through the water. Thank you.