I have been away from the writing board for a few weeks now. Sadly my beloved father-in-law passed away and we had to go and help with so much that is required after a death.
My father-in-law was my father. I lost my dad many years ago and he began to fill in that gap slowly but surely with much love as my father would have done. I relied on him for advice, his mentoring and a fatherly hug when I needed one. He will be missed.
My son delivered a very emotional eulogy depicting his grandfather as a noble family man. As I listened to him I heard my husband’s, my dad’s and my father-in-law’s voices all in one. My son had learned well their collective teachings. He never met my father but I had shared so many of his stories that my son got to know him well. I was so proud of him.
I learned a lot about life these past few years as I watched and listened to my father-in-law deal with his illness. I have learned to appreciate so many things more now. The little things especially. It is amazing how many of the mourners remembered precisely the short encounters with my father-in-law. Many close friends characterized their memorable experiences as seeming insignificant to anyone else but themselves. They emphasized how some of these events (mostly acts of kindness) had changed their lives. But now more than ever the family swelled with pride to know how he made a difference in so many people’s lives.
His legacy will carry on through my son and daughter and hopefully my grandchildren. We are what we do. A life is the sum of the great things we do for others. This was the best lesson of all. He served during World War II, he loved his country with great passion and cherished his wife of 70 years and his entire family. Rest in peace Don Will, you did well.
My tribute goes deep. One of my family members was first responder and we are grateful she is still in our lives. A couple of my former students at the time lost family members. A colleague lost his cousin. As everyone else, I remember vividly the events of the day. I can remember things I said, what I had for breakfast and the pounding of heart. It all started during the first period of the school day. I had to be strong for my students and the teachers under my supervision. I was not supposed to panic. I had to be strong for all of them. I remained as calm as I humanly could and tried to comfort the children who had been entrusted to me.
I did not breakdown until I returned home that evening and looked to the New York City skyline from my car to see the devastation. Although all I could see was smoke, I kept thinking of the people who lived in that area and all the lives lost. I thought about my old neighborhood and how terrified people must have been in those horrific moments. I thanked God that my family was safe. I recently visited the 9/11 memorial. It is amazing. It was very emotional and sad but at the same time I felt hopeful. I know we will never ever forget. I just pray that it gets better for all the family members who lost their loved ones. I did not realize or maybe I’d blocked out some of the facts of that day. Only six people survived. Most especially I was stunned to know that 11 unborn children had also perished. Now that I am a grandmother this fact is harder to accept. However, I believe with all my heart they are our angels of hope.
I did not write a poem this year but I focused on the numbers that appear in every newspaper, blog, flyer, book, and all accounts of that beautiful September day that became the most tragic day in the history of our country. May their souls rest in peace.
God bless America.
Numbers with meaning
Once again for the 13th year
we remember the unforgettable
and the very dear
souls taken from us on 9/11
loved ones read their
names one by one
hoping they hear us in heaven
Bells are tolled at 8:46:30 AM
then again at 9:03:02 AM
and once more at 9:37:46 AM
all of us remember exactly
where we were
what we were doing
and most of all the mayhem.
But we know that life continues
and we try to ease the pain
we rebuilt and archived many memories
Ground Zero is not the same
Today was a cloudy day
unlike the day we lived such horror
it seems more appropriate this way
although it really does not matter
we will always remember the unforgettable.
September 11, 2001