Remembrance. A beautiful word to help you cope with grief.
My grandparents Maria Theresa Laviano and Egidio Gresio came to America for economic freedom.
My friend's parents came to America for true freedom. They were survivor's of the Holocaust.
In 2005, I wrote a play about my friend "Lanie" titled By Candlelight. Lessons learned from her enthusiastic embracing of life. Lessons learned about the Holocaust. Lessons learned about terror and the ability to still cherish all that is good.
Months after 9/11, the City was a gentler place. Scarred but standing, the talk was of rebuilding and renewal.
"In the deserts of the heart, let the healing fountain start." - Auden
Cope. Heal. And remember. And then - renew.
My friend and I "visited" each others religion. I was welcome to seders at her home, fasted on Yom Kippur and she spent Christmas with me. I attended her services. She attended my mass.
Below is a scene from the first production of Candlelight. The scene is from the Christmas Eve spent together. Before we found different lives. Before we grew apart. Portrayed by the loveliest of young performers. Whose lifes are now intertwined with mine.
In 2008, after By Candlelight was published, my friend's brother found me. We shared memories, photos, thoughts. Exchanged news of our families. News of my friend's children and how they were coping with the loss of their mother. My friend. His sister and best friend.
I sent him the play which he would give to his mother. It is autobiographical based on my remembrances of our childhood friendship. Based on the years our names were so intertwined - they were one. Written too late - written in remembrance years after 9/11.
And so finally - they knew. My friend never knew the goodness she added to my life. The luminesence. I never did get to tell her. But her mother and brother finally knew.
Last year on September 10, "Lanie's" brother called me. With him was his mother - whom I had not spoken to in decades. September days are hard for her. "Hello." And there it was. The gentle Romanian accent, the emotion, the knowledge that many years have passed. Welling with tears, speaking as if I had been at their home yesterday, I was able to finally tell my friend's mother things I didn't know when I was young. That their family changed my life forever and for good. That empathy is necessary. Compassion must be a piece of the pie. And I thanked her for being part of my life. I took so many things for granted.
At age 9, I thought sharing our religion and different cultural life was something everyone did. I was an adult before I found out that I was given a blessing - a mitzvah.
Claudia, I have tears welling in my eyes. I think that the foundation to understanding humanity is learning and understanding that we have more in common than difference - and those differences can enrich our lives deeply. This is a wonderful story to tie in the remembrance of 9/11. Thank you.
This is a great tribute to your friend's memory. Thank you for reminding us to remember.
A beautiful tribute. I am speechless, my friend.
Claudia, what a touching and beautiful way to remember your best friend. Your post is truly inspirational,and a good reminder as to the richness in embracing our differences.
As everyone has said, this is such a touching and beautiful tribute. Thank you for reminding us to remember those that have touched our lives in one way or the other. I pray that tomorrow will be a somber yet hope-filled day.
Claudia, I'm sorry about your good friend 'Lanie' and I'm glad you written the play for her. I'm sure that is the most touching story ever and you've written it with all your heart & soul. Even I'm not American but I still remember the day I watched the live news about the attack! It was horrible. And I actually shouted out "run people run, run for your life!" Everything happened so quickly. I'm sure your good friend's mother would love to hear from you more often. Have a nice day.
Oh Claudia...so touching, so real (like the tears currently running down my face). Such a beautiful post...thank you for reminding us to remember.
Hugs! A beautifully written post.
Your words are very powerful my friend. What lovely memories and great loss you have shared with us today. I hope the day treats you well. Blessings...Mary
Hi Claudia, beautiful post and a big ((HUG)) from me.
Claudia - I don't know what to say except that you touched me deeply with this post. More than you can ever know. You are a wonderful friend and I wish I could have witnessed that play's production. How blessed you are that you at least got to speak to your friend's mother and tell her all those things. May we always remember those who perished on 9/11/2001 and may we always keep those near and dear to us in our thoughts and prayers. hugs.
My area was greatly affected by the events of 9-11. It is a very solemn day for me. Your post was just lovely and heart warming - a great tribute to a friend. I am sorry for your loss but I am also inspired by your words.
Claudia your friend lives on in your heart and memory and in your beautiful play. I'm sure her Mother and brother treasure that.
It was such a sad day but hopefully we can honor all those were lost by doing acts of kindness in their memory.
It was really a sad day.
Thanks, Claudia, for this loving and touching tribute.
I wish you a peaceful day!
Claudia - Thank you for sharing such a sweet and touching story. The friendships we make when we are young become such a huge part of what we are. This was a lovely tribute to your sweet friend. We must always remember those who paid the ultimate price.
Beautiful and moving your amazing friend... what a wonderful tribute!
Wonder story and memory of your friend! We will never forget to honor those who fell 9/11.
Claudia, I loved this post. It struck me so because over the years I have frequently thought of the mothers of childhood friends and the difference they made in my life. I would like to be able to thank each of them, but it is too late.
One of the best posts I have ever read in this blogging world...
Congratulations Claudia...I feel proud of you !!!
Thank you for publishing this - I was so welled up with emotion on Saturday... I could just feel the reverberations from 9 years ago... Thank you for your post - ♥ megan
Anyone with a warm soul and a decent heart can relate to that terrible day. Even though I'm Canadian...I can assure you that the mental anguish we felt back here for all of you was very real indeed. I always embraced differences...especially since I wouldn't want to deal with me every day ;)
Your post was very touching.
All the very best, Claudia
What a beautiful tribute to it all. Thanks for this great & grand post!!
I'm crying...I remember you telling us about her once before. I'm so sorry. And glad that you were able to talk to her Mom and tell her everything you didn't know then. The play is a lovely tribute to her. *HUGS*
Claudia, what a beautiful post and a true tribute to your not just your friend but everyone affected by September 11. I too miss that "gentler" post 9/11 time and hope we can somehow find that place again when we reach out as opposed to retract from people.
A beautiful and heartbreaking post. How easily and quickly we forget! Thanks for the reminder....
Very moving Claudia. Just lovely. Thank you.
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