As the nation prepares to honor the 10th anniversary of the events of September 11th, 2001, we, too, are acknowledging the passing of a decade in our own home.Today, Saturday, September 10th, 2011, marks one decade since the end of my husband’s (and son’s father) battle with a rare cancer. In some ways, so much time has passed, but yet I can still recall the events of that life-altering day as if it were yesterday. A. had been under the care of hospice the last twelve days of his life. On what was to be his final full day on earth, he was trapped in a state of what is referred to as “terminal restlessness.” He just couldn’t quite overcome that final “hump” and cross over. After adjusting his medications earlier in the evening of September 9th, he was eventually able to let go. His time of death was approximately 3:30 AM that fateful morning.
So much has transpired in the days, weeks and years since his rather untimely death, but none more so than the fact that his toddler son has morphed into a teenager, just beginning his final year of junior high school. Back in early 1998, before cancer showed up as an uninvited guest in our home, I had A. complete a section in M.’s baby book. The page is titled “Dad’s Thoughts,” and he wrote the following:
“I want to watch you grow up, experience the ups and downs of life. To see you become a Mensch……My greatest joys have been watching you laugh and smile……And my wish for you is that you have health, happiness and live a long meaningful life! Learn to be compassionate and giving.”
Even though A. has not been with us in a physical sense, I do believe that he has watched his son grow and continue to laugh and smile. I would also like to think that our son has the beginnings of becoming a Mensch, a Yiddish word which figuratively means “a person of integrity and honor.”
And so, as this significant anniversary descends upon us, I would like to say to those we lost all those years ago, which includes loved ones, fellow Americans and members of our global community, “While you are no longer present in our daily lives, no disease or terrorist act can take away the memories and love we hold in our hearts each and everyday. You are missed!”