Today is one of those bitter-sweet days. It is weird because since the weekend's shooting in the movie theater in Aurora, CO, my mind has been going back to 9-11, when you just couldn't wrap your head around what was happening...when you just knew somethings would never be the same. You hear about the heroes, the loss, the resilience and you know they will never be the same.
Today is my cousin's birthday. I have know her all my life and in so many ways she is my sister. Although my family is the typical dysfunctional family with a capital "D". She was the one that was always there to put the fun in dysFUNctional for me! Sometimes for me and allot of times with me.
I think I was pretty lucky to have such a relationship with most of my cousins as a kid. But life happens... divorce, moves, re-locations, marriage, jobs, kids... you know all those things in life that just happen...life happens, while you're busy making other plans.
One weekend I went camping with my Uncle and cousins. My Uncle owed a piece of property on the canal in Center Moriches, NY. It was always fun to camp with them. We'd have a little camp fire and Uncle would tell us those stories that would scare us out of our minds! We didn't have a bathroom and if you were a girl that had to go at an unscheduled time, you had to row across the canal to their Grampa's house. My cousin and I set out for seemed like "a three hour tour"! It was darker than dark. We laughed till we cried. I don't remember if we made to Grampa's house or how we got back but we rowed in circles and then just she rowed and we made it back to camp safe and sound. She tells it so funny!
We went to Jones Beach one summer day by bus and spent our return money on refreshments. I got so burnt that day after falling asleep in the sun. What choice did we have but to hitch hike to get over the bridge. Big mistake!! One of the guys pulled a knife out of the glove compartment and was taping it on the dashboard. Scared doesn't even begin to tell. We screamed till they pulled over and we got out. Just as we did, someone else's mother pulled over and yelled at us to get in. She lectured us all the way to our grandmother's house where she dropped us off. Neither one of us ever hitched a ride again!
There were many times together that are still very special to me...the Long Island Rail Road to New York City, Broadway plays, haircuts, just walking around... And when ever we see each other, which is never enough, it's like we saw each other the other day ... like an old glove that fits just right. I really love that girl!
She grew up to become a New York City Police Officer. No wonder I have always felt safe with her! She met a wonderful, fantastic man and got married. She had 2 great boys that they can be so proud of. They both were among those that responded to 9-11. We had not been in direct contact at that time. They both, along with their duties, were on the bucket brigade and then her husband was transfered over to the landfill to sort and identify. Shortly after, a plane went down in a New York neighborhood that they spent off time in and her husband's family and friends lived. It was a horrific time for everyone but once again, it was a time I still not can not wrap my head around. They were on the job week after week after week.... The boys slept on the couches of friends and neighbors (which I only found out much later. And that is another story...).
My cousin's husband passed away in December (2011) after years of battling 9-11 cancers. This morning she woke up remembering all her previous birthdays with the boys and their father sneaking around to surprise her with flowers and hugs in bed and wound up in sobs. Her son came in, thinking the same thing, and they hugged and cried together. My heart hurts for her.
There is nothing I know that I can possibly say or do to ease her pain or their pain. I can only pray that she gets a moment today that she is still and at peace knowing he is not far away. I believe he will always be close by. He lives in her heart, in her boys... I am hoping that he will send her a sign today... a bird, a butterfly, a song, a seagull, a smell, a memory, a touch... some sign of his love that he is not far away and bring her some comfort.
I am not that happy today that I am so far away from family, especially on days like today.
I love ya Cuz... hang in there.
|Jupiter Lighthouse, Florida|