It's been six months since my identical twin sister Warren died, and ten years since the 9/11 attacks. Without diminishing the macrocosmic significance of the terrible events of a decade ago, I choose to mourn my sister as a stand-in for those who perished that awful day. The photos here are from her wedding ceremony in 1989 when she was several months pregnant with her second child. Her husband David had promised to marry her when she was one year clean and sober, so their wedding represented a lot more than their commitment to each other and their children; it symbolized the boundless optimism and support offered her during her ongoing struggles by all of us who loved her.
She battled most of our lives, from the time we were eleven years old, to free herself from the shackles of one addiction after another. She fought and won, and fought and won, and fought and won again. At the end, she was worn down by fighting and finally succumbed, but I will never stop being thankful for her courage, her perseverance, and her two beautiful children, my nephews Jesse and Warren, both of whom have become wonderful young men. My love for my twin and her sons sustains me now and always will.
Bless the dead and the dying on this day of sorrow and remembrance, and those of us who remain as well.
No man is an island, entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent, a part of the main...
Each man's death diminishes me, for I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know for whom the bell tolls;
It tolls for thee.
- John Donne, Meditation 17, from "Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions"