I know so many people are remembering this day,
September 11, thirteen years ago
and where we were as a country.
It was also my father-in-law's birthday.
He's been gone a little over six years now.
I think I've shared before
that the night he died
we happened to be in the middle of reading
a book of prayers for children.
The twins were nearly four years old.
The chapter was called "Look After My Family."
They were very short and easy to read poems.
We went through a few and then I came to one in particular.
I hesitated to read it to them.
It was a poem about a child whose grandmother had died.
The child prayed to God
and asked Him that,
if He should see her grandmother,
to please tell her that she missed her and that she
would try her best not to cry.
I read it silently to myself
and then aloud to them.
The poem right before this one
told the story of a child who kept a caterpillar in a jar.
One day the child found the caterpillar gone
and only a black cocoon in its place.
The child thought it had died.
Of course you can guess that soon the caterpillar
became a beautiful butterfly.
The prayer ends with this...
"Help me to remember
that people who die
are a bit like my caterpillar.
they will be happy again
like beautiful butterflies."
After reading these two poems back to back
one of the boys,
who has always been like
"the old soul" in a tiny person's body,
asked me -
"Mom? Do you think Paw Paw will become like a butterfly?"
I'm sure he was wondering if he would be happy in heaven.
We talked about how he was at peace
and no longer in pain.
How he was with his family that had gone to heaven before him.
How he would be waiting to greet each one of us one day too.
Shortly after I remember seeing a butterfly in our yard.
Immediately Paw Paw came to mind.
I shouted to the boys that there he was,
checking in on them like in the book.
They were so giddy to see "him."
Still, six years later, none of us can see a butterfly
without talking about him,
without saying his name,
without telling a story about him,
like how he loved a good cheeseburger,
or how he would scratch his sons backs in the morning
as a gentle alarm clock to wake them up for school,
and how he was so selfless as a parent.
I hope he knows in heaven that we always will remember him.
Like the thousands of men and women who died
in the attacks on this day back in 2001
I know they too will always be remembered by their loved ones
and by this country as a whole.
I hope they all know that we will never forget.