My mind constantly returned to happier times at
Syracuse with Jason: our freshman year at Brewster/Boland; filling
up his (illegal) waterbed at Watson; celebrating my 21st birthday
at Chuck’s; games at the Dome; struggling through a last-minute
math requirement senior year. It seemed so unfair. He got married
a few years ago, and had a 13-month-old daughter, Zoe. Jennifer
and Zoe were the light of his life, and Jason was a truly unconditional
friend—committed to his friends, family, and job. He was also
passionate about learning, his education, and Syracuse.
As his memorial service started, I thought
about why this had happened, and how terrorist hatred could touch
the Syracuse community twice. What is it in the world that perpetuates
such evil, and how can it be reconciled? I suspect that it’s best
to leave that question to experts. At the end of the day, no action
will bring back my friends who were victims of Pan Am 103 or the
World Trade Center attack, which is all that I really want.
Since September 11, much has changed. All of us look at
life differently now. We say what needs to be said, we hug our
kids, we savor the little moments, and yes, we in New York and
the nation are beginning to live our lives again, although they
will never be quite the same. I know that this is what Jason and
the others we have lost would have wanted, and what they would
I vow to try to make a difference in the
lives of those left behind, to support them and love them as those
who are gone did, to tell them stories about times we had with
their loved ones, and to perpetuate the values they stood for.
And I will never forget them. Jason’s spirit will live on in his
daughter, and in us—his friends and fellow alumni. None of the
evil in the world will take that away.
Kristin Walker-Bidwell, a 1990 graduate of the College of Arts
and Sciences and former member of the SU womens rowing team,
is an account supervisor at J. Brown/LMC Group, an advertising
agency in Stamford, Connecticut. She lives in Pelham, New York,
with her husband and three children.
a seasoned family therapist, I have learned a great deal
from generations of successful family functioning about
how to respond to stressful times in ways that heal rather
than harm. Crisis brings out the best and the worst in people.
Denial is a short-term solution, but long-term growth occurs
when we are honest with ourselves and others about what
is actually occurring and how it is impacting us. Use this
opportunity to get to know yourself and your loved ones
a little better. It is important to listen to others, to
be curious, not judgmental. Give yourself and your loved
ones permission to rest and contemplate, to take positive
action, and remind yourself that, with support from loved
ones and/or spiritual connections, you can tolerate what
passes your way.
Stone Fish, professor of child and family studies,
College of Human Services and Health Professions