Tuesday, 3 May 2011

"I don't wanna die. Don't expect me to die..."

"Aidan was 5 when his father died, and while he knew his father had been killed "saving others," I managed to protect him from the violent imagery and details of that day. He never saw the burning towers until this year, and I was relieved that I mostly managed to keep his life sacrosanct.

Now, at 15, Aidan stands over 6 feet tall with his father's handsome features, my eyes, and feet so large I have to special-order sneakers. As he has matured, I have filled in the details of Dave's death... I greeted him with a hug and simply whispered, "Bin Laden is dead...

"Mom, I feel a big weight off my shoulders," Aidan said, grabbing his backpack from the back seat and saying goodbye.

As I watched him walk toward the terminal I cried -- not out of relief for bin Laden's death but sadness that Aidan had to carry any weight at all, that a whole generation of children like him have had to grow up in a world of fear, hate and intolerance.

On the drive home, the news stories continued. People were celebrating at ground zero and in Times Square, cheering as if the ball had dropped on New Year's. Bin Laden's bruised corpse was posted on the Internet along with the words about hope, relief and comfort. Yet, all I could feel was a numbness, as dull and muted as the sky...

Unable to work, I began to read the comments from friends and family instead. There were countless Facebook messages, texts and emails wishing Aidan and me well.

It made me recall the aftermath of Sept. 11, how strangers and friends from around the country and the world met our profound sadness with overwhelming expressions of support and love. Letters, books, quilts, teddy bears, bookmarks, remembrances poured into our small apartment giving me comfort in my desperate loneliness and hope in my darkest hours. As time passed it felt as if something much bigger was happening, a shift in the cosmos that was uniting the world in an unprecedented display of humanity."

Something from many years ago... Stuff like this just gets you thinking. You wouldn't want it all taken away either, just like that...

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