For 9/11 families, a day of painful reflection instead of high-fives and fist-pumping

At best, there was some sense of relief and vindication. But mostly, there was the return of the pain and sadness of loss. Upon learning that Osama bin Laden had been killed, those who lost a loved-one on 9/11 were transported to the emotional turmoil of those days, eager to spend quiet time with the memories of those lost, in a quiet place, alone.

An article in the Buffalo News set out the emotions felt by some of Beverly Eckert’s and Sean Rooney’s siblings.

“It brought tears to my eyes,” said Susan Bourque, Rooney’s sister-in-law. “It opened up all the pain and tragedy of 9/11 all over again.”

And it stirred complex emotions in the hearts of Rooney’s family, like others.

“I can’t feel happy, not with all that has happened since 9/11,” said Karen Eckert, another sister-in-law. “This was all so much bigger than one man. I also feel sadness for all the innocent people who’ve lost their lives, and for those in our military who’ve died in two wars, all in the pursuit of the war on terror.”

Cynthia Blest, of Buffalo, one of Rooney’s sisters, summed up the conflicting emotions that hit many of the Sept. 11 families late Sunday and Monday.

“This won’t bring my brother back,” she said. “My brother is gone. But this may, in fact, end up saving more lives.”

Blest said she came to a clear conclusion about bin Laden after 9/11, when she watched a video of him.

“My take on him was that he was a very evil man,” she said.

And upon hearing that bin Laden had died, she added, “I guess it was a relief to a certain extent that at last the person most responsible for my brother’s death was gone.”