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There Will Be Tears: "He Wouldn't Have Changed A Thing."
Coming to terms with painful situations can have a power that verges on miraculous. We've all heard the classic tale of, say, the woman who gets pregnant (after years of trying) once she reunites with her estranged family or the sick mother who gets better after a visit from her long-lost son. The Washington Post's story last Thursday about 9/11 widower Floyd Rasmussen begins like such story. After his first wife, Rhonda, died in the attack on the Pentagon, Rasmussen moved out west and started his life over by marrying another woman (the frank, insightful tale of how these two faced the losses in his past is itself reason enough to read the article immediately). Unfortunately, he also developed renal failure, which made travel not only difficult but perhaps fatal.
Regardless of the danger, he refused to skip the tenth anniversary event in Washington DC. He flew across the country, attended the ceremonies, and even met with President Obama to talk about what had happened that day, including the fact that he had only been two floors away from Rhonda and yet had escaped the wreckage unharmed. On the plane back home Rasmussen had trouble breathing, and, a few days later, passed away—but not before talking with his mother, other family and friends, to whom he declared that "he no longer felt any need for vengeance, no longer felt hatred for the men who had blown a hole in his life."
In the traditional miracle, he would have arrived home and found his condition cured. But that doesn't make his experience any less amazing. The forgiving of the unforgivable still qualifies as a marvel in my book—perhaps the kind most worth remembering and repeating, since we all can try to make that particular kind of magic happen in our own lives.
Making peace with yourself—no matter what
How to say good-bye
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