This time of year is filled with celebrations: my anniversary, my wifes birthday, two granddaughters birthdays, Christmas, and my birthday. Christmas was Alicias favorite holiday.
She was killed on September 11, 2001 on United Flight 175. At first, holidays, birthdays and other special days were so painful. I didnt know how we would get through it.
For the first Christmas after Alicias death, our immediate family and her boyfriend went away from the hustle and bustle and traditional reminders of the holidays to the mountains in Montana. The second Christmas was spent on the beach in Florida.
During the first year I wrote daily in my journal, which became a book in 2011. It was a place I retreated to try to make sense of this horrific loss and I joined organizations like ACCESS and September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. Compassionate others who have experienced similar losses, have helped us in untold ways. When we join together with caring others who really know what we are going through, it gives us great comfort.
Eventually, as we learned to cope with our loss, we also learned how to re-integrate back into our extended familys holiday traditions. I have learned how to cry when I need to and to allow my emotions to run their course. I have allowed the grieving process to unfold with all of the pain, the sadness, despair and heartache. And I have learned how to live more fully with the understanding that life is experienced in the here and now, and tomorrow is promised to no one.
To all of you who are experiencing grief during this holiday season,
I send my heartfelt love and compassion.
John Titus lost his daughter Alicia, 28, on United Flight 175 on 9/11