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tears of remembrance

they’re different than tears of pain or tears of regret.

Last night I cried tears of remembrance. We’re doing a closet shuffle so that the Boy can have his clothes in his own room. In order to achieve this daring feat of closetry, we’ve had to remove 23 years of his brother’s crap. Katie didn’t believe that Burg had an (almost) entire wardrobe of orange clothes in his HS soph. year. She’s seen proof now, she’s amused too. Especially because he greeted each orange article of clothing like a long lost dear friend. He’s keeping three quarters of it . Poor Katie, it’s her problem now not mine. I told her that if her child decides to wear mostly orange for a year I really hope it is the worst of the problems she will face.
After we excavated HS momentoes and fossilized bits and pieces of Christmases past and Easters long forgotten, he really got down to work.  He tossed old prom prizes and all his missing track spikes. Now he remembers where he put them. I kept a local sports store in business buying track spikes. He’s decided that he’s dropping them off to the HS track coach to keep in the first aid box. You might call it the Chad Memorial Fund, donated to help others  who can’t get from point A to point B without losing a brand new package of track spikes.
We got past the stuffed animal collection. Those are all garage sale bound. He’s keeping his NY Giants stuff. <no comment on the super bowl, it’s a hell I’ll live for a full year… go Lions 😦
He found a lacross stick and played Gretsky scores into the garbage pail with an odd number of shoes. Not odd looking, just an uneven number and of that uneven number there were three no matches.. Those missing shoes, like crop circles, may never be explained. He finally finished and we all settled in for a fun family night of Family Guy.
I didn’t cry from the memories we unearthed when we liberated the closet. That wasn’t it.

It was what I found of the bottom of the top shelf that did it. The last thing to leave the closet. A Sports Illustrated from September 24th, 2001. ‘The  Week That Sports Stood Still.’  I’d put it aside and we finished up the closet. All orange clothing lovingly transferred to it’s temporary home in the hall closet and more given up than kept. A successful day!
 After the dust settled and we all oohed and ahhhed over a box of photographs I took the magazine to my room. Last night I leafed through it before I went to sleep and I cried tears of remembrance. It’s not that I’ve forgotten 9-11-01. I haven’t.  While I don’t dwell on it, I haven’t forgotten it. Feeling so scared and vulnerable, knowing so many lives were lost and the people who these people loved would never get to say “goodbye”. Or “I love you”. Or even “I’m sorry”  Children losing parents, parents losing children. And the destruction. I spent that day watching tv and trying to tell my blinding Mother what I was seeing.
But in the time since, while I keep the memory, I don’t feel the sadness, I’ve put it away. Last night I remembered as I read the stories and saw the photos. And I cried a little for a few minutes because while my life went on just fine from there, the people who lost their loved ones will always have a hole. And the babies born soon after will never know their fathers.
Yesterday my children were with me. Making fun of the orange wardrobe and teasing each other a little. That makes me lucky. Earlier yesterday someone told me that he always says “I love you” to his children when they head out to do something. That makes him lucky too.
It’s important to remember how lucky we are that we can tell the people we love “goodbye” or “I’m sorry” and “I love you” because no matter how smart we think we are, we just don’t know what could happen. The one thing that can come out of something horrific and bad is a reminder of what’s important and how lucky we really are.  I’m keeping the magazine and probably in a few years I’ll find it again and I’ll cry tears of remembrance again. I just hope that I’m still saying “goodbye” and “I’m sorry” and I love you” to the people who need to hear it but if I’m not, I know it will remind me.


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