Tired Of Being A Symbol

Nikki Stern wrestles with being defined as a 9/11 widow:

Last May, Osama bin Laden's death prompted a new round of calls and requests for interviews. Along with a group of other family members, I met with the president of the United States at ground zero. Talking to Barack Obama was thrilling. But that day — the crowds and the checkpoints, the heightened security and the helicopters, the microphones and megaphones and construction cranes hanging over a still-incomplete building where my husband worked and died, even the identification badges bearing my name along with the words "family member" — dumped me back to 2001: a jumble of sights and sounds, exhaustion and exhilaration, highs and lows made up of fear, pride, confusion and the sense of being different or "special" on account of a loss so severe we hadn't even had time to process it. I came home and cried like I hadn't for years.