You never know when a moment will be etched into your brain. These memories are brief and significant at the time – a smell, a tone of voice, an expression on someone’s face, or a word spoken in passing – but soon evaporate from your consciousness.
Alternately, the memory may be a life-changing moment – the birth or death of a loved one, a doctor’s diagnosis, a major accomplishment, or the first time falling into love – that will flood the mind, perhaps recede, but never leave.
But there is another type of memory which falls somewhere between the two. An unexpected moment, you realize only much later, divides your life into a ‘before’ and an ‘after’ existence. When this happens to an adult of a certain age, that moment is a ‘second coming of age.’
I am Mark Aherne, fifty-eight years old, a husband and the father of two grown children. I have an interesting, but unexceptional, career. I’m part of a successful marriage of thirty-five years with the normal ups and downs one expects when living with another person. My parents are living and financially secure.
My childhood was…
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
For me, everything changed on a September afternoon in 2004…
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