Thursday, September 11, 2008

Overwhelmed

My emotions are running so high today. I have been tearful on and off, with tenderness, with gratitude, with grief, pain and joy all swirling together. It is probably difficult to communicate and difficult to understand, but this is a very beautiful feeling I have inside myself right now.

Yesterday afternoon I wrote about Team Joseph being at $3300 and so close to its $5000 goal for Heroes For Children. At the moment that I write this, we sit exactly $83 from making that goal happen. In the span of 24 hours, people have just come from far and wide to contribute nearly $1700. I am mentally on my knees.

This is such a special day you see. Today, seven years ago, an incredibly dark evil overtook our country and robbed us of over 2000 of our citizens in a burst of cruel hate. I do not pretend to understand the cause of Al Qaeda. I guess in the most generous of spirits I can say I imagine they have their reasons and that for some reason they feel they are justified in those murders. I do not agree. That day, I think pretty much all of us took pause and reflected on the potential for evil in the human heart. Every anniversary my heart is heavy. I will never forget where I was or how I felt that day. I will never forget the images on the news. I will never, ever forget any of it.

I do not hold Joseph, our family or even this little team we have formed in his name up as any kind of force or power in the world. We are all ordinary people who were caught up in extraordinary circumstances. For most who even knew of Joseph's battle at the time of his illness and death, the story of it has started to fade and life has continued onward. It is as it should be. But that so many would resurrect it at this time. to put themselves forward in such a generous way as to absolutely leave no doubt in my mind that they remember...they remember him, they remember us...it makes such a beautiful statement of hope and of love. They remember Joseph or have been moved by his story for the first time. There are names on the list of contributors that bring my throat to close with tender gratitude...people I have never met, who live far far from here, who knew of us only through Joseph's Caringbridge page...people who sent him gifts, sent us cards, sent funding for our last family vacation together...Do you understand how this brings him back to life in my heart? And the message it holds to counteract what statement was made about humankind seven years ago today is soft and yet so powerful in its tenderness. This generosity of spirit is so opposite to the darkness that took place that day. You do not have to believe in a God to be touched by this outpouring of love and remembrance, all for one very ordinary young man who happened to get cancer and who had a mother willing to put the story out there for all to see as it unfolded.

He is here, in my heart. I feel him. Joe says we keep those we love alive through our memories of them. What I had not considered at all was how the memories of others as well can make that sense of continuation so massive. This has been so very healing for me. Joseph lives on. Thank you so very, very much. I do not know if I am more moved by those who read and suffered along with us as he fought and he died...or those who were not aware of us then, but are still moved by the story now.

The funds we are raising go to families still living the nightmare. Its just the kind of thing that Joseph would have believed in. His spirit was sweet and it was strong. I miss him so much and yet feel more than ever he is eternal. Thank you. Hope is such a powerful thing, in the words of a song I know, frail yet hard to kill. I did not realize I still had so much in me.

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