This week has been a somber week for me. Thursday, we remembered the victims of September 11, 2001. Most of us remember who we were with, and where we were at the time of the attack. For me, I’m always taken back “there” emotionally. It’s hard to believe that it’s been 13 years since the attack.
What makes this week somber for my family, is that 6 years later–after the attack on the twin towers–my father passed away. That would be today, September 14th.
I would be lying if I said that time had passed and I’m no longer affected by it–but that would be a lie. I am reminded of my father’s presence and his gifts everyday that I wake up, and every night that I lay my head down.
Just like the Church has a calendar of events: Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter, Pentecost…, we too have a calendar of life. We remember when our children were born. We celebrated their first tooth erupting, and we cry when they lose their baby teeth–a symbol of growing older.
Life consists of celebration, anticipation, mourning, and loss. Through our calendar we add new things to the list, and remove things that no longer “apply.”
A Lesson from Grief
Grief is one feeling that we don’t like to talk much about. We don’t like to talk about how it makes us feel, and we certainly don’t want to talk to someone who is grieving. In our “polite” society, it’s just not done!
But grief is an important feeling that we should ever over look. Mourning, and crying, is like the valve to the heart. It needs to shed so that we can see clearly, and truly understand our feelings.
I’ve learned over the years, that when we mourn, we not only miss that person, but we understand that we had a connection to them and we miss that too.
I do miss the connection that I had with my father. What we used to talk about, and hearing some of his songs, reminds me of what I missed, but I think I have grown in my grief to allow those feelings to overcome me, and be comfortable.
What I am able to say now is that:
- I am proud that I was able to call him Daddy.
- I am blessed that he was in my life, and he was able to see me through many of my milestones–especially walking me down the isle.
- I am blessed that he taught me so many life lessons, and many of them were without words.
- I am thankful that my father was the way that he was, because he was forever giving, and sacrificed a lot.
I am finally at peace with my father’s passing. No longer feeling like a lone sheep in the world without a shepherd, I see that the leader of my childhood family has done a great job in helping us form our lives and faith. I learned by his examples (and his mistakes), that while no one will be perfect, there were lessons that I never had to learn first hand. Lessons that were shared with my husband and children.
I have learned that my world from 2001 has changed dramatically. No longer am I that scared 19-year-old looking at the news reels of what happened. Afraid that everything I understood collapsed with the buildings.
No matter what’s going in the world, or in my heart, I know that I’m standing on a rock. I’m standing on a ground that solid, and true. I know what I’m made of, and I have my faith.
So I mourned this week, I mourned like I did during Good Friday. I mourned, and I’m not ashamed to say that I grieved.
Today, though, I smile. I appreciate everything that was ever done for me, and I appreciate the life my father worked so hard for us.
I smile, because while I did mourn his death, I will continue to celebrate his life.