For a long time I’ve wanted to write this letter to you so that you could read it when you were old enough. But every time I sat down to write it, I couldn’t. And now, on this 10th Anniversary, you’re 10 years old. So, I want to share my memories of your dad with you.
When I met your dad at Boston College, we called him John. It wasn’t until after we had graduated that the guys started calling him Jack, and from that point on he was always Jack to us. From the day I met him, until the last time I saw him, Jack always had a huge smile on his face. Your dad was the type of guy that never wanted to see anyone having a bad time, and always made sure that everyone around him was smiling with him. We all knew if Jack was around, we were in for a good time — actually, a great time. He was genuine, thoughtful and one of our closest friends. He was my dancing buddy, and we’d seek each other out (on the dance floor) every time we’d hear the first notes of “Two Step” (Dave Matthews Band).
Labor Day Weekend 2001 was the last time we spoke to him. A group of us were trying to convince your parents to join us out on Nantucket for “Clearlight” — once again, another name the guys came up with for our two-week vacation on the island. But you guys couldn’t make it because your mom had a previous engagement that weekend. We were disappointed. Nantucket was a special place for your dad, and we have many fond memories with him out there.
This past Friday (Sept 9th), I took the girls out to Boston College to visit the Memorial Labyrinth, which was dedicated on September 11, 2003 to the 22 alumni that were lost in the 9/11 tragedy. (Maura met us there, too.)
It was my first time to visit the Memorial, and Matthew plans to attend with us this Fall. The two plaques (pictured above) flank the entrance path to the Labyrinth.
The names of the 22 Alumni lost on 9/11.
The scripture above the names is from Isaiah 40:31
They that hope in the Lord will renew their strength, They will soar as with eagles’ wings; They will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.
The reference to “eagles’ wings” is symbolic, as we are BC Eagles.
In the center of the Labyrinth.
We photographed these two Viking golf shirts on Jack’s stone. The one on the left is from The Viking in Vegas (Jack’s reign as “pooh bah” and the city he picked), and the shirt on the right is from the last Viking event that your dad had attended, in the Spring of 2001 in Montreal – the last time many of the Vikings were with your dad.
Above the names on each stone are impressions of 3 circles. So the girls each sat in one. It was really meaningful to me, because Jack never got to meet them.
We also wanted to visit Welles Crowther’s stone.
We met a man who maintains the Memorial, and he told us that over the years he often saw a red bandana placed on Welles’ stone, but never knew its meaning until this past week.
It was such a nice visit for me. My college years flashed through my head while we were there. Originally, I had planned on writing a letter to Jack, and releasing it with a balloon, as I know you, your mom and the Murrays have done in the past on the anniversary. I wanted to tell Jack that you’ve grown up into such a beautiful, young lady. I wanted to tell Jack how special it is that you have a “dinner date” with Dave whenever he is in New York. I wanted to tell Jack how much we love Jason, and that he’s doing a fantastic job taking care of you and your mom. But somehow I know he already knows all of this. I believe this because of how your mom and Jason met on Nantucket, with a bunch of us at the same event. It was as if he had picked Jason for the both of you, and you guys for him. I know he knows. While we were there on Friday, I had shared a text with the picture of the shirts, which got passed along and forwarded onto the Vikings with a note. At almost the same time Friday in Chicago, Tommy Lindstrom had gone to visit a 9/11 memorial where letters had been written to those who were lost. As Tommy browsed through the letters, he came across one written to Jack, and at that exact moment his phone buzzed and he received an email with the photo I had passed along. I heard the story later, and it still brings me chills.
And so, I decided to write this letter to you, because I want you to know how special your dad was to us. We will always hold his memory in our hearts, and today we will celebrate his life. We miss him so much. xoxo
Christmases at The Delaneys’.
Christmas Stroll on Nantucket
The Ho No
all photos by Ei3s