How the 9/11 anniversary can provide lessons for healing from Covid-19 trauma

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Jessica DuLong

Published September 10, 2021

The anniversary of the death of Matt Crawford’s father is recognized worldwide — a date of such consequence that just three digits summon images of airplanes, skyscrapers aflame, then clouds of dust and debris.Somehow, the day still sneaks up on Matt Crawford each year, catching him unprepared so that he sometimes winds up driving around directionless until he can decide on the best place to take his annual solo hike.Crawford, a construction supervisor, was 24 when he lost his dad. Robert J. Crawford, father of five and grandfather of six, died at 62 doing the job “that he absolutely loved” for 32 years: serving as a New York City firefighter. (There are now five more grandkids the elder Crawford never met.)

Robert J. Crawford had been scheduled to retire in November 2001, at age 63, the FDNY limit. Instead, his remains were found with six civilians in what had once been a stairwell at the World Trade Center.