The Fraternal Order of….

September 11, 2009

“There’s a special fraternity for those of us who’ve lost spouses and children.” – Joe Biden, Ground Zero, 09/11/2009

Yes, I can tell you what I as doing eight years ago when the families of 3,000 men, women and children were initiated into that “special fraternity.”  I worked for an elected official in Los Angeles – a place that truly believed they were next in line to be attacked.  It was a long and scary 48 hours.  Until March 2008, September 11th, 2001 was the worst thing that had really happened in my life.  It will be a defining moment for my generation.  Yes, I had lost loved ones but it was always a “good” death.  Not surprises, not traumatic deaths, usually an end to some long-suffering illness.  No, September 11th was my first real brush with overwhelmingly senseless death.  Sadly, it wouldn’t be my last.

Now, I’m obviously a much different person.  I belong to that “fraternity” Vice President Biden spoke of – he and I can share in the secret handshake.  I looked at the families of those that lost their loved ones that day and I sympathized.  Several months after 9/11, I shook hands with a woman whose husband was a firefighter who died that day.  I felt horrible for her but I couldn’t understand that level of grief and pain.  I can now.

We are out there, members of this “special fraternity” who have had children die.  You can’t tell us from the rest of the world.  You can’t see the pain we hold in our hearts.  You can’t know the tears we cry at night…or in the day…or all the time.  Only difference is, we don’t have a pool to stand at and read the names of our babies gone too soon.  So instead we write about them.  We write about our pain.  We write about our hopes and dreams for the future even though it doesn’t hold the babies we so desperately wanted and loved.  We read each others thoughts and help fellow “fraternity” members get through anniversaries, due dates, additional losses, failed medical procedures, inconsiderate family members, and unkind friends.  We treat each other – total strangers – with compassion and love because we are members of this “fraternity.”

I guess my point is this.  I hate that I am a member of this “fraternity.”  I hate that there are those of you reading this who belong too.  I’m sorry for the people who lost loved ones eight years ago today for they were someones’ child just like my boys are my children.  But I am grateful everyday for the kind and compassionate words I receive both from my real life and bloggy friends.  I’m thankful to be able to read others words and know that I am not alone.  I’m honored when others read my words and feel comforted.

But I would give anything to be able to turn in my membership pin….

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4 Responses to “The Fraternal Order of….”

  1. misterivf Says:

    what an amazing post. It made me tingle. Thanks

  2. Tina Says:

    I want to turn in my pin too. Can someone tell me where the end of the line is???

  3. iamstacey Says:

    I love your post. I hate to be in the fraternity (sorority?), but I’m proud to be in such amazing company!

  4. stacey Says:

    Beautiful post. I love the way you write.


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