November 19, 2001


"We live in a world of 100% mortality."  That statement only makes sense if you've lost someone. It seems to carry more weight for me as I get older. Is that the standard response? The older one gets, the older grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends get. Sooner or later statistics creep in. You lose someone.


My mother has been through so much in the past few years. My stepfather died in 1998 after a protracted fight with cancer. Yesterday would have been his 67th birthday. I was with him when he died and it gave me nightmares for weeks. After he died, my mother was adrift for a few months. She started seeing a family friend shortly after, and they were very happy in that "lived-in" way that older people get. He died just a few weeks ago of a heart attack. Mom puts on a good show, but I can't imagine the pain she feels.


My daughter is only 18 months old. She shows such personality and vitality. Until she was born, I never gave the dangers of the world much thought. I figured I could stand up to almost anything and if I couldn't, well, that would be the end of me. Now, everything is different. I see her and I think of all the things that could go wrong. I see all the danger, all the evil and I can't believe how vulnerable that makes me feel. I woke my wife the morning of September 11th just after the second tower fell. Our daughter was still sleeping. I told my wife what had happened and she started crying. "Things will never be the same", she said. She was right. Our daughter will grow up worrying about poison in Halloween candy, sexual predators, and bio-terrorism. I have those fears too, magnified through her.