Children of Sept. 11
And now, painful
NEW YORK — The first baby arrived just hours after the disaster, and the last nine months later.
Their fathers were rescue workers, cops, restaurant waiters and stockbrokers. Their mothers, pregnant and alone when the dust of the towers settled, worried about the stress on their unborn children from the agony and shock. Some miscarried. One went into labor during her husband’s memorial service.
|Julie McMahon holds her son, Patrick, 4, as her older boy, Matthew, 6, looks o. Patrick was born seven weeks after his father, James, died in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.
Each delivery was, all at once, wonderful and awful.
Julie McMahon delivered Patrick while her husband, Bobby, looked on from a photograph on the bedside table.
Patrick arrived with Bobby’s curly hair and lanky body, and has sprouted into a miniature version of his daredevil dad.
The 4-year-olds are now building images of their fathers from the wisps of other people’s memories and photographs, without even the subconscious sense of long ago cuddles or kisses on the forehead.
As each child discovers a lost father’s life, along come questions: How did daddy die? Who are the bad guys? Where did the buildings go? When they cleaned up the buildings, did they clean up daddy, too?
Marylene Cloitre, director of the Institute for Trauma and Stress at the New York University Child Study Center, says the conversation will change as they grow up. In a few years they will probably want to know whether their fathers would have loved them. As teens, they may wonder about identity - how am I like him?
“There are always questions and things that come up, and sometimes I’m thinking, ‘oh my gosh’ - you try to buy time so you can come up with an answer and do the best you can,” says Kimberly Statkevicus, whose second son was born four months after husband Derek died.
Their child, named after his father, turns 5 in January. He is matter-of-fact about what happened. “My daddy went to work one day and some bad guys came and knocked the buildings down and crushed him like a pancake,” he explains.
He wonders why there are no photographs of him and his father, like his brother has. Sometimes, it upsets him.
Some of the questions of these fatherless children are easy: Did daddy like mayonnaise or mustard? When he played baseball, did he strike people out?
Other times, they’re more spiritual: Does he see me when I ride my bike?
For those answers, Terilyn Esse has taught Jack Patrick there is a special thing he can do.
“When he started to talk, I would ask him, ‘Where does Daddy live?’ And he would say ‘In heaven,’ and I would say, ‘Who does he live with?’” she said. “And he would say ‘With God and the angels,’ and I would say ‘If you want to talk to Daddy what do you do?’
“And he would say ‘I close my eyes and look inside my heart.’”
9/11 Sequence of Events
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Graphic: Timeline of Terror
Sept. 10, 2001:
the last ordinary day
Fort Worth Star-Telegram
of the morning
Weather: Sunrise is 6:32 a.m. in the Northeast.
Music: Radios are playing “U Remind Me“ by Usher.
News talk: Is Andrea Yates competent to stand trial for the drowning deaths of her five children?
This just in: The first case of mad cow disease is found in Japan.
Music buzz: Fans preorder Bob Dylan’s “Love and Theft” CD, due out tomorrow.
TV buzz: Last night’s premiere episode of “Band of Brothers,“ produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks for HBO.
of the afternoon
Weather: High in Boston, 86 degrees. High in New York, 85.
This just in: Elizabeth Dole plans a news conference tomorrow to announce that she will run for Jesse Helms’ U.S. Senate seat.
Sports talk: Barry Bonds will try to hit more homers at Houston’s Enron Field tomorrow.
of the evening
Weather: Sunset at 7:06 p.m. in the Northeast.
TV buzz: Should Megan Mullally or Kim Cattrall win the Emmy for best supporting actress in a comedy?
Music: An all-star tribute to Michael Jackson’s 30-year solo career is staged at Madison Square Garden.
This just in: The Cessna crash in the Bahamas that killed singer Aaliyah may have been caused by an overloaded plane.
News talk: Did Robert Blake shoot his wife outside an Italian restaurant?
Sports: Yankees game with the Red Sox postponed in New York after 0.41 inch of rain.