Just a thought… What separates us from the animals, what separates us from the chaos, is our ability to mourn people we’ve never met. [David Levithan]
So many memories of this day 17 years ago. We have an understanding of loss now that we could not have imagined when terror hit US soil on 9/11 and our hearts are with those whose grief knows no end.
I remember one of the most touching moments from a memorial held in the days following the attacks on the United States, when a rabbi spoke of those who had passed. The words he used were these: “They are not with us, they are within us.” And they resonated as strongly then, hearing them through a cab driver’s radio, as they do today.
And so it seems appropriate to share with you our own moment of remembrance. I told you a few months ago that Rob and I had found a lovely park near our home – just down by the Sidney Ferry Terminal – that reminded us of Monet’s home in Giverny, France: weeping willows, still waters (alas, no colourful bridges), ducks and peace. Nearby, children play on swings and slides, picnic tables are set up for families to enjoy and there’s a soccer pitch, too. It’s a lovely spot, Iroquois Park, and we wondered if we could perhaps request (and pay for) a bench there.
At first, they said they had no plans to add benches to that fenced area around the ponds. I pressed a little and explained why we wanted one: we needed a place where we could go just to be with our daughter. In Ontario, there has been a tree planted and a brick engraved with Lauren’s name (thanks to some very kind moms who did this in her memory) but out here in our new home, we felt we needed something. The town parks department agreed to allow us to donate a bench and asked for the wording for her plaque.
We submitted it, then waited. Months passed with no word and we were hoping an email would let us know how the bench was coming. So imagine my surprise when someone posted on my Facebook page that the bench was lovely. Wait, what? It was there?
Two days after learning the bench was there, we swung by one afternoon on the long weekend following a day at the fair. We didn’t give ourselves time to gear up emotionally and I think that was deliberate. We had no idea where the bench would be placed; all we could do was be grateful it was there at all.
The placement was perfect.
It overlooks a pond, where ducks float and dip and rest on a little island.
Some day soon we’ll have a little “ceremony” of our own, maybe leave some flowers, play Lauren singing on my iPhone (as I often do) and perhaps surreptitously scatter a few of her ashes. From now on, this is our place. We hope it gives others a chance for quiet reflection and maybe they’ll even wonder who this young woman was. Maybe a mother will rest there with her own baby. Or a young father who just wants to catch his breath. Who knows? We’re just grateful it’s there – for anyone. But most of all, for Lauren.