The moodiness starts a bit later tonight.
He doesn’t like the answer I give his request; and, as we read our nightly devotional, he tucks his head under the covers.
I try to ignore, feel annoyance tap on my shoulder.
But as we read about answered prayers, and friendship, and a journey Through Painted Deserts, something else comes knocking.
I begin to remember.
I remember all of the children who lost a mother, or a father, perhaps even both—on this day, seven years ago. I remember parents who lost children. I remember the shock, the pain, the horror of a nation—a world—stricken with grief.
And there is this ghosted figure beside me. Stubbornly wrapped in this sheet.
But he is alive, breathing…he is mine to touch and hold.
I begin to leave these goodies along the fence line.
Tender kiss on sheeted skin.
A tiny hand emerges.
Reaching. He takes my hand in his.
I place it silently to my lips.
I hold my loved ones close tonight. My prayers honor the lost. And the left behind.
Last year the Mobile 9/11 memorial visited our city. I took the boys to see, not knowing quite what to expect, only hoping to instill in them this sense of grief.
This is part of our story now. I want them to feel this. There is too much loss to let it be forgotten.
On the way, I told them about my friend who was killed that day. A boy I knew in college. A boy who grew to be a man—a respected doctor. I tell them how he studied every night in the Medical School Library where I worked. How he would roller blade around the stacks to freshen his mind after hours in the books. His smile, his brilliance, his sweet naiveté. How we danced all night with other friends once.
This is real. This really happened.
Their sobriety at the memorial humbles me. I see sorrow and respect and something else…fear? Mirrored in their faces.
We signed our names on a beam. We are part of this tribute now. Our names will be erected with so many others in honor of these lost.
They will not be forgotten.