Five years ago today I walked home alone across the 59th Street Bridge. The acrid smoke rose from the abominable heap that refused to leave my peripheral vision.
When Dad was convicted of attempted murder, what made me most sad was to think that he will grow old and die lonely in jail and nothing good will ever come of his life. No one would know him as he was or care to know him as he is. He will always be fatally flawed in a stranger's eyes; not worth anyone's compassion or pity or love; deserving of a dank cell devoid of warmth and filled with pain and suffering.
Flawed people died five years ago today. There were alcoholics, drug abusers, liars, cheaters and selfish people, perhaps even a convict or two among them. But they were all victims. Innocent and unsuspecting and their families are deserving of our sympathy for their unwitting sacrifices.
I have wished I could swap Dad with Some One who died on September 11, 2001. Some One who was young and vibrant. Some One would be able to hear and speak, be loved unconditionally and would have a future and life worth living. Then, if anyone asked about Dad, they would not hear that he was an alcoholic drug user, liar and cheat, abusive and selfish convict. Despite all of his flaws, they would only hear that I had sacrificed him unwittingly. Dad would somehow be worthy of their respect and I wouldn't reject their sympathy.
And that Some One would go on and lead their life ...