This essay was originally written and performed on KSCO 1080am on the second anniversary of 9/11. It’s not about 9/11 precisely, but more about heroism, about how tragedy bonds, about how tragedy clouds our vision, and about how tragedy can teach. I’ve posted it before, but thought it bore posting again.
My father told me once that he was glad my mother had died first. He loved her too much to wish he had gone in her place, he said. The harder thing was to be the one left behind. He wouldn’t wish the pain and guilt and insecurity and loneliness and self-loathing on an enemy, much less on the woman he loved. Best for her to have gone first, he said. He alone would bear the crushing weight of the following empty years for them both.