On September 11, 2001, my husband's daughter --- my "step-daughter" although I rarely use that term; she's my daughter --- happened to be in Ames with us. She'd been in a horrific car accident two months earlier and still hadn't gone home to New York City. At the time, she lived in Brooklyn. During that long day of grief, I knew the solace of her presence. Our other kids (again, ditto: not biological) live in London and I wasn't as "worried" about them. But I wanted them there, too. Right there. In the house. Safe. With us.

Tonight, I want them here. Most especially the youngest member of our tiny tribe, my four-year-old grandson, whom I adore. Such a small boy. So unknowing.

They're not here, of course. They're at home -- in London. In New York City. But I know my grandson's mom (she of  the car accident) is holding him, inhaling him, as is his dada (whom I did not know in 2011).

And tonight I hold them, and all my friends,  that close, if only in my heart.

Pain and evil come in many forms. They're not the same, not always. But however they arrive, whenever they arrive --- they deliver not just grief, but a moment when all of us feel most deeply -- and painfully --- the power of love.

Tonight, love your family and friends. The darkness won't feel so dark.