This was written by Sharon's son, Brian, a year after her death.
SEPTEMBER 6, 2002
One year ago today my mother lost her battle with breast cancer and the world was deprived of one of the finest human beings it never knew.
At a time when the attention of this nation, and indeed the world, is focused once again on the enormously horrific human tragedy of September 11th, it may seem to some a rather small and insignificant thing, the quiet passing of one individual at home, surrounded by loved ones, with the opportunity to say good-bye. It happens every day, after all.
But not in my life. The fact is that even though death is, sadly enough, commonplace in this world, the death of a loved one is never a trivial matter. It always hurts. And, while I cannot even begin to imagine the horror and anguish experienced by the survivors and families of the victims of the 9/11 attack, I will never forget the feeling of standing at my mom's bedside looking at her and, first, knowing she was going, and then knowing she was gone. That is the kind of hurt that cannot be expressed in words. It is an unspeakable pain of heart and soul that will never fade away, the intensity merely ebbing and flowing with each passing day.
And yet, even amid the the pain and sorrow that comes with having lost one of my dearest loved ones I am so thankful to God that I was so blessed to have such a wonderful mom and that I have nothing but warm and happy memories of her that I can cherish and pass on to my children.
I think one of the saddest things about 9/11 is all the newborn children who lost their daddies without ever even having seen them. It just breaks my heart to think about it. But what is also heartbreaking to me is that my three children and their grandmother never got to know one another.
Mom was so happy when we started having kids. She was just so happy and proud to be a Grandma. But living two thousand miles away was a bitter pill to swallow. Still, she did what she could to make sure that her grandchildren knew that she loved them very much. And when we were together all she wanted to do was hold 'em and hug 'em and love 'em all up real good! It tore me up to have to take them away. I felt so bad for her, that she couldn't be with these precious little ones for whom she had so much love and to whom she had so much to offer.
Two girls. Oh, what she could have done with these two little girls, the daughters she never had! And the boy. At last! A boy to carry on the family line. I have no doubt that in time she could have gotten him interested in her genealogy work and all the fascinating people and events that played a role in our family's history.
And now I feel just as bad for them, for all that they will miss, even though they may not even know they're missing it.
There is much about those days one year ago that I wish I could forget. And then there are things that I hope I never will.
Isn't it strange how, in the midst of such a sad unpleasant experience, something can happen that is at once happy and sad, a moment that is both wonderfully beautiful and tragically heart wrenching? It's a phenomenon that is quite impossible for me to explain or describe. But I can tell you when it happened to me.
It was the day before Mom died. During one of her increasingly rare alert moments I held my five month old son right down next to her to touch her face. As his tiny fingers gently brushed her cheek she turned her head toward him and, with what must have been through sheer force of will, she leaned over, ever so slowly, and kissed him on his cheek.
If I someday lose every other memory I have, may God grant me this one to keep.
When such beautiful memories are created within tragic or unhappy circumstances, I believe that is one way in which God comforts us and helps us to cope and to deal with our sadness and pain. May we all, on this day and every day, cherish our memories of those whom we have lost, for then, even though they be physically absent, they will never be gone from our our hearts.
May our Father in Heaven bless us all, and may we find comfort and hope in the love He gives.
IN FOND AND LOVING MEMORY
SHARON L. KENNEDY
JAN. 27, 1942 - SEPT. 6, 2001
Sean's tribute to his mother
Race for the Cure