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When they told me life isn't fair, they weren't kidding....

by northstar at 09:17 AM on February 22, 2002

I usually try to find the lighter side of life to comment on, but I have to get this out of my systemÖ.

Iím as tired of 9.11.01 as anyone else. I want to stop looking backward and start looking at the life that is still in front of me. Before I do that, though, I want to pay tribute to a friend. Tim Haviland was a classmate of mine at Macalester College in St.Paul, MN. I remember Tim as a wild-eyed, earnest, and brilliant young man, who was in equal parts arrogant, opinionated, and caring. Tim and I had been part of a close-knit group that began our college experience together, and more or less stuck together during our four years at Macalester. After graduation, we went our separate ways, off to change the world in whatever ways we could.

Shortly before our ten-year reunion, Tim called me to see if I would be going. Since I was living in Minneapolis at the time, it was no problem. I found Tim, and we spent the better part of a Friday morning walking around campus, catching up on our lives and the changes that had taken place at our alma mater. Our twenty-year reunion is this May, and I had been looking forward to seeing Tim and once again catching up on the changes in our lives. Sadly, I will not be afforded that luxury this time around.

You see, Tim was working for Marsh & McLennan on the 96th floor of One World Trade Center on 9.11.01. He likely never had a chance once the plane hit the tower. As far as I know, his body has never been found, but he did not make it out alive. Tim had recently remarried, as had I. Both of us, previously childless, found ourselves with two teenage stepchildren. It seemed that after some years of seemingly aimless wandering, we had found something new to focus on beside ourselves.

I had been looking forward to seeing Tim again. It would have been fun to compare notes on where life had taken each of us. It seemed both of us had grown up to be reasonably responsible and productive adults. Who would have guessed that would ever happen?

I will be at the reunion in May. Iíll have a good cry and remember my friend. Iíll remember the good times and the arguments and the times he helped me find my room when I was too drunk or stoned to navigate myself there. Most of all, I will consider myself blessed for having known Tim Haviland.

I will miss you, my friend. Vaya con DiosÖ.

comments (3)

On Feb 14, 2002, I was driving home for a client's office, on back roads in a hilly area... I topped a hill and passed the screen of trees upon it to gaze out into a clear blue sky that contained a large plane.

A large plane that seemed to be flying really low. My heart stopped. I was 50 miles away from Metro Airport, where the big flights come in. This plane was too low. It seemed, to my paniced eye, to only just be above that ragged treeline. I managed to keep my car on the road and continued driving. My brain engaged and told me that I was only about 3 miles away from Pontiac's airport, and likely this plane, this large - probably communter flight - had originated from there.

I did not lose anyone I knew in the attack that day. I know alot of people that did. And it did change the way I look at the world.

by jenn at February 22, 2002 11:05 AM

i remember thinking, as i sat watching the tv on 9-11, how many individual stories there would be to be told -- about those lost, by all who lost them. the number of lives is so staggering, and to think of each life, each loss, and how many lives that in turn affects.

staggering. thanks for sharing that story.

by kd at February 24, 2002 2:55 PM

Dear northstar,
You may not see this post but today on the anniversary of 9/11 I remembered Tim and prayed for his family. One of the things our community did in the days after 9/11 was to put the names of all the victims on small slips of paper and let people take one to pray for. The magnitude of the horror was so overwhelming it helped to just focus on one person. The paper I picked had Tim's name and I have continued to pray for his family (especially in the days after the shuttle disaster) and I was able to visit "ground zero" on a visit to NY.

On this anniversary I pray for the continued healing of his family and for the hope of peace and justice in the world.

by sid at September 11, 2007 9:25 AM

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