For some reason, 9/11 wouldn’t leave me this year.
I’ve had some terribly busy days since last week. When work oversteps my coping boundaries, for some time, it renders me numb and too worn to care.
But not this year. Not since I matched the image of a grieving Robert Peraza to my post, Every Tear. Several times in a day since the 11th of this year, I’ve returned to that image of a father, kneeling in sorrow, and perhaps relief, at finding that beloved name, etched in bronze, paying homage in a love only a true father can have for his child. Over and over, I have slipped away from busy, noise-filled hours to place my heart beside Mr. Peraza, willing him to at least share his grief with me, that his cross may be lightened.
In almost every media article that accompanied that portrait of abject grief, I read Mr. Peraza’s words upon finding his son’s name at the North pool.
“I was just honoring Rob. … I was saying a prayer for his soul.”
I couldn’t stop going back to that moment of 9 years ago, so public, yet so private. A father praying for the soul of his son.
Yet only today, did a question tug at my heart.
Why did I keep coming back to that photo? Why that one – out of all the others? Why this anguished yearning to reach out and absorb all this man’s pain?
On a whim, I decided to scour through the internet to see if there was something about Robert Peraza that I needed to know.
It was as if someone had been waiting for just that. Almost immediately, I learned that Mr. Peraza had passed away in 2016. New thoughts then stole softly into my heart. To have worked so hard all those years, in the hopes of a happy retirement and maybe for a few more pearls on that necklace – a bit of travelling, more family time, quiet days to savour what work holds out of reach. Then, 9/11. Your loved one snatched away because the right to life means nothing to some.
Still, even as I thought them, those thoughts slipped through and away, unwilling to stay. Even of the sadness I had felt from last week, barely a mist remained now.
What had suddenly closed that door to that hidden world of grief?
Slowly, quietly, someone pushed these words, like tiny vessels across my spirit.
I was saying a prayer for his soul.
And then I understood.