A MESSAGE FROM JASON, ALL RIGHT
I am a huge fan of Guideposts. Yet I’m not a huge fan of eNewsletters. You’d never know this, because I receive an electronic heap of them per day. SmartBriefs, trade newsletters, Chicken Soup newsletters since I am a former contributor, spam eNewsletters … up the wazoo. So many go unopened that a majority now end up in my spam file. I’ve been too distracted to go into them and unsubscribe.
A Guideposts eNewsletter appeared in my spam file yesterday.
Eh, I thought. Maybe I’ll read one today.
I clicked on “This is not spam.” The newsletter moved to my inbox.
THE STORY WAS ABOUT MY COUSIN.
My cousin Jason DeFazio worked on the 104th floor of the World Trade Center. On September 11, 2001, he was 29 years-old. He had gotten married three months before. Much of my mother’s family was at his wedding, laughing and celebrating with him. On September 11th, his wedding pictures hadn’t even come back from the photographer yet.
The last his mother (my mom’s first cousin Roseann) heard from him, he was in a stairwell.
That was all.
His family held a service for him in October. Around the room, his wedding photos were displayed in frames on bakers racks. “This is all I have of him now,” Roseann said to me as she walked me through the sets of portraits. She had nothing to bury. She didn’t receive a physical scrap of him back. This is difficult for an Italian family. We want visceral closure, backed with physicality. We want something and somewhere to visit, to pay our respects.
I held Roseann’s hand. I wanted to repay her. I hadn’t spent a lot of time with her family in Staten Island, but almost 15 years before, my aunt had died of Lupus. Still a teenager, and one who identified fiercely with my Aunt Joanne, I was devastated enough to develop allergy symptoms that mimicked her disease, which continued for months to come. Roseann came out to Long Island for the funeral and held my hand. She told me stories about when she, Joanne and my mother were girls. She stood in my grandmother’s basement and took my mother’s hand and tap danced on the concrete floor like they did when they were kids in dance class, and made my mother laugh. It made me feel like my beautiful aunt would not be forgotten, did not go into the ether. Note, that “Chicken Soup for the Soul” contribution I mentioned was about my aunt.
Right now, I don’t feel like being eloquent. I feel like figuring out what this is supposed to mean. I Google Jason’s name and see a plethora of photographs of him that make me cry, even though he was not a cousin that I spent time with. It still makes me want to repay Roseann more. Like the world owes her more.
The crux of the newsletter was that Roseann was receiving messages from Jason. I can’t help but wonder what message I was meant to discern when I randomly rescued an item from a spam file that turned out to be a posting about my own relative. Except that maybe I should write about him.
This is the story Guideposts sent around: