Monday, September 5, 2011

Remembering

I just finished the last part of a special called "Children of 9/11."

It is what I am sure will be the first of many beautiful and moving tributes to all varieties of the day the earth stood still.

One girl in particular stood out. She was 12 when her father, a police officer in New York City and a volunteer firefighter in Roslyn County, died. She's still angry. She's still hurting. She talked about how all of the significant events in her life, he wouldn't be there for, and she hated that.

I wanted to reach through the screen to this girl who was so different from me and and yet so achingly familiar and just hug her. No words, no platitudes, no "everything's going to be OK." Just sit in silence and think about how our dads are not there, and it's not OK and it's never going to be OK.

I also felt grateful for the one gift cancer gives: time to say goodbye. I didn't have a normal day turn into my worst nightmare. I didn't worry about things left unsaid. I even have videos of my dad that he made after his diagnosis, messages for me to watch at integral parts of my life -- college graduation, marriage and my first child. I have letters that he wrote after the suffering had taken away his tough outer shell and he didn't hesitate to tell me he loved me and was proud of me. I have letters I wrote to him in which I told him I loved him and was proud of him.

He was diagnosed with cancer six weeks before Sept. 11, 2001. His 62nd birthday is just five days after the 10-year anniversary.

I stand with Caitlin Langone, the daughter of Officer Tommy Langone, who died selflessly: "What makes me feel special is that Daddy was my dad."

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