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2003-09-11

Remembering Jeffrey

A few weeks ago, my grandmother died. I hardly batted an eyelash, and even the one batted was more for the guilt I felt for being happy about it. Here we are, though, exactly two years from the day I woke up to find out that Jeffrey was one of the firemen that was in the building that collapsed, and the slightest reminder brings tears to my eyes. Of all the things I feel like I control, I never pretended to believe that I could control my emotions.

Some of my family is at Ground Zero today, paying respects, remembering, reliving, mourning. Like so many other innocent people, doing their jobs in the building, Jeffrey died while doing his. His body wasnít found at first. My cousins searched Ground Zero every day, finding unspeakable things, pieces of people, fragments of life in the rubble. They didnít wear masks. They didnít miss a day. They were exhausted, but driven to find him. Candles were lit, prayers were recited, and finally, a month later, a funeral was held. I wrote about the experience here, you can check my archives for the original entries. After the funeral, his body was found, crushed, along with a handful of other firemen and a few civilians. Closure.

The family is torn apart. People are angry, devastated, stuck. Unable to heal or let go, but how can you blame them? Iím distraught with the pain and the memory of the entire tragedy, the loss of a cousin I loved, the pain of going back to see where it happened, the sadness of the ceremonies. Iím able to move on and let go. Things might be different if he was MY son, if it was one of MY sisters. So I canít urge them to ďmove on.Ē I can never understand that level of suffering. Though mine is true and real, I would never think to compare it with the vast depth of torment that my aunt is experiencing. That my cousins are experiencing.

What of Kevin? He was in there too, with Jeffrey, doing his job and saving lives. He is Jeffreyís brother-in-law. Was. He survived. He was in there when he lost those around him, when his little brother-in-law was lost. I canít imagine the trauma. I feel for my family. I want for them to continue to live and laugh as if Jeffrey were still here.

But he was the one who always made everyone laugh. I donít have any answers. I know that thinking about it makes me cry. I know that I feel pain and loss and sadness. I know that nothing can bring him back. I know that he liked to see us laugh. I know I wish to see my aunt laughing again, to see the family together in laughter and love, which is how I grew up knowing them.

I know I need to stop typing about it, stop thinking about it, because Iíll never get any work done today if I continue to cry like this.

-Barbarella

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Remembering Jeffrey 2003-09-11 8:42 a.m. A few weeks ago, my grandmother died. I hardly batted an eyelash, and even the one batted was more for the guilt I felt for being happy about it. Here we are, though, exactly two years from the day I woke up to find out that Jeffrey was one of the firemen that was in the building that collapsed, and the slightest reminder brings tears to my eyes. Of all the things I feel like I control, I never pretended to believe that I could control my emotions.

Some of my family is at Ground Zero today, paying respects, remembering, reliving, mourning. Like so many other innocent people, doing their jobs in the building, Jeffrey died while doing his. His body wasnít found at first. My cousins searched Ground Zero every day, finding unspeakable things, pieces of people, fragments of life in the rubble. They didnít wear masks. They didnít miss a day. They were exhausted, but driven to find him. Candles were lit, prayers were recited, and finally, a month later, a funeral was held. I wrote about the experience here, you can check my archives for the original entries. After the funeral, his body was found, crushed, along with a handful of other firemen and a few civilians. Closure.

The family is torn apart. People are angry, devastated, stuck. Unable to heal or let go, but how can you blame them? Iím distraught with the pain and the memory of the entire tragedy, the loss of a cousin I loved, the pain of going back to see where it happened, the sadness of the ceremonies. Iím able to move on and let go. Things might be different if he was MY son, if it was one of MY sisters. So I canít urge them to ďmove on.Ē I can never understand that level of suffering. Though mine is true and real, I would never think to compare it with the vast depth of torment that my aunt is experiencing. That my cousins are experiencing.

What of Kevin? He was in there too, with Jeffrey, doing his job and saving lives. He is Jeffreyís brother-in-law. Was. He survived. He was in there when he lost those around him, when his little brother-in-law was lost. I canít imagine the trauma. I feel for my family. I want for them to continue to live and laugh as if Jeffrey were still here.

But he was the one who always made everyone laugh. I donít have any answers. I know that thinking about it makes me cry. I know that I feel pain and loss and sadness. I know that nothing can bring him back. I know that he liked to see us laugh. I know I wish to see my aunt laughing again, to see the family together in laughter and love, which is how I grew up knowing them.

I know I need to stop typing about it, stop thinking about it, because Iíll never get any work done today if I continue to cry like this.