Friday, September 11, 2015

Fourteen Years Ago

Fourteen years ago a dramatic and terrible series of events occurred, 2996 people lost their lives, and the world was forever changed.

Project 2,996 was initiated by blogger D. Challenger Roe as a way to bring bloggers from around the world together to remember and pay tribute to the victims of Sept 11, 2001.

The point of the project is to CELEBRATE and REMEMBER the lives of those who were lost rather than focusing on the tragedy of that day.

This past summer my partner and I visited the 9/11 memorial in New York City and I was overcome with an incredibly powerful emotion. I walked around the beautiful structures, touching the names of so many strangers, thinking about all of the lives that were cut short, about the elements that each of those people used to bring to the world and to the lives of those they knew and loved.

We met a few people who were there to find the names of their known loved ones, and at times felt like odd spectators at the scene of a horrible highway accident -- curious and concerned even though we had no direct ties to the people whose lives were lost.

And then I found myself looking to see if I could find the names of those whose lives, as part of Project 2,996, I researched, in order to remember them. But I realized finding the engraved names didn't really mean anything -- instead, talking about them, which I did, helped honour their memory. As will, I hope, re-sharing their stories again this year.

 Raymond Meisenheimer

Deora Francis Bodley
  Remembering The Lives of Two Heros (Blog post from 2007)

David Reed Gamboa Bradhorst
  Project 2996 - Sept 11, 2008 (Blog post from 2008)

Though I never knew them, I do often feel like they are long long friends, and so today I have been again thinking and reflecting on their lives.

Every year, on this anniversary -- and sometimes on the days in between -- I re-read the original posts, I think about the lives they lived before the tragedy and I send a silent thought that they are not forgotten.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

A Dozen Years, A Lifetime of Memories

Twelve years ago today I lost my father.

For the longest time, losing my father had been my greatest fear. The first full length novel I wrote (still unpublished) was an attempt to come to terms with facing that fear. And a relatively recent novel that I wrote explored my desire to explore "what if he hadn't died." I doubt I'll ever stop including this element in some way in my writing.

Yesterday, when I was talking with my son about the grandfather that he never had the chance to meet, he asked about the surgery and if I ever wished I could find a time machine so I could go back and change what happened on that day. One of the things I love most about hanging out with my ten year old is that our minds are so alike; we can get into a grove and the decades of age difference between us dissolve. 

It's always an interesting premise, wanting to go back and change things that didn't go right.

But there are a few things that went right that fateful morning. Such as giving my father a hug and a kiss and telling him that I loved him before he headed off into surgery.

Dad and I in Levack, sharing a beer and some laughs back in the 90's
Taking the time to tell those that you love, those who are important to you, is always the right thing to do; even when it's awkward. But the great thing about love is that you can give and share love without ever once feeling depleted of it. It's an amazing internal natural resource.

Tonight, when I'm sitting back and having a beer, I'll be toasting the memory of my father; I'll be toasting all the fun times that we shared, all those moments together, and the life that he lived; celebrating a man I continue to try to emulate. But I'll also be celebrating the incredible gift that I have in being a father to such a truly wonderful son as I continue to marvel at all he is and continues to grow to become.

Alexander and a game of chess we played last night (while philosophizing) at The Winking Judge

Tonight, I'll be toasting to memories, and to futures; and reflecting on just how blessed I am that I get to live between the two extraordinary lives of my father and my son. The influence of both of them make me into a better person.