So much has changed in the eleven years since you were taken from our family, but I am happy to report, some of those changes have been good. Really good. I wish you were here to see them...then again, maybe you're working your magic up there.
For a long time, it felt like the humor had been sucked out of our holidays and celebrations, and we were just going through the motions, but lately there has been more laughter than tears. Births, milestones, and yes, especially the seven year old who makes me laugh almost as much as you did, remind us that there is still so much to be thankful for. By the way, are you his guardian angel? Whoever has the job is doing excellent work, and deserves a raise.
The bar is completely different and moving forward. We went in there just a few weeks ago, and toasted to you. The changes that the new owners have made are really nice. Even though it's strange not to see your name on the window, it doesn't feel like you and Tommy and the rest of the crew are haunting the place anymore. I like to think that it's given you the freedom to set up a Hobson's Choice in your, ahem, new location. Hey, you've got to watch the Redskins somewhere, right?
She's happy. How could she not be with the big smile that greets her every morning and that head full of golden curls? The pain of loss may never fully go away, but there is a new normal, a moving forward and the looking ahead of more good things to come. Good changes there too. Not perfect, we don't expect perfect, but I think these changes were meant to be.
My 10 year old started asking questions last year. It's so hard to explain to children. Are they old enough? What will they understand? How much information is too much? We took his lead, answering his questions as best we could. The hardest part was pointing to your picture on the wall, showing him the uncle he would never get to meet. He has seen the strength of our family, though. He has seen us mend. And while we will always remember you and be connected to this date in a very painful way, we continue to look at the limitless possibilities of the future. I hope we make you proud.
The new World Trade Center building is rising into the sky before our very eyes, and we all heal a little bit more with each floor that goes up. It's huge, dominating the skyline as it should. It's a fitting reminder to the strength of the city and our country. This fall, we're planning to bring the boys to the Memorial and see your name. It sucks they didn't get to know you, but don't worry, we will only tell them the good stuff about you. We'll save the crazy stories for when they're a little older.
Every year this day is a tough one, but this year is somehow different, a little easier. There's more light than sadness, more dancing than crying, more laughter than anger. We are letting go of the hate, the anger, the fear and the sadness. We are embracing the future and opening ourselves up for the joy it holds. We will never look at the WTC and not think of you and what might have been. Whenever the skyline comes into view, there is a silence that falls over the car, like a prayer. But, no matter what, the music is turned back on and the conversations pick up where they left off.
I know you're looking down and laughing right along with us, nudging us forward. We will always miss you, and smile at the memory of you.