Sunday, September 12, 2021

Young widows

9/11/2001. It was  such a beautiful day. Those clear, blue skies that cried autumn, with its new beginnings, an unimpeded line into the future. And suddenly, in the blink of an eye, there were so many young widows. 

In those first days after Tom died,  I remember my mother lamenting her inability to give me any advice to help with what I was going through. (I note my mother was steadfast and wonderful through it all.) She and her friends were still too young, none of them had lost spouses, let alone had children who had. I remember, too, her thought that in other eras, I might have been less alone in such grief. She grew up in the shadow of WW II, which rent young families in so many ways.

I remember walking near John Wayne airport that afternoon — I was stranded in California on a business trip — seeing the planes parked across the runways to block them, and thought of all the times I’d driven past there with Tom when we were at UCI. And thought of the shock that had overturned my life 14 years before. How I could not wrap my mind around what the cardiologist on call was trying to tell me, how desperate I was to have one more chance to tell Tom how much I loved him. How excruciating the wait to know for certain what was coming next. And the avalanche of decisions that would descend. And I thought of all those living rooms and kitchens and offices where this scene was playing again, not in the privacy of a dark hallway in a local hospital, but under the unrelenting glare of a national tragedy. And I prayed for them all.

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