By Kent Larsen
Wahlstroms Moving On After Tragedy
KAYSVILLE, UTAH -- The Wahlstrom family will celebrate Halloween this year,
in spite of the September 11th terrorist attack that robbed the family of
their grandmother and aunt. And in spite of the tragedy, they are finding a
way to help others cope also.
"The kids need something to be afraid of that they can control," says
Margaret Wahlstrom, daughter-in-law of Mary Alice Wahlstrom and
sister-in-law of Carolyn Beug, both of whom were passengers on American
Airlines Flight 11 when it hit the World Trade Center on September 11th.
"The kids can control Halloween-scary; it's not real, like the other," she
But while Halloween is all right, the family still misses their grandmother
a lot, "On Christmas morning, Mary Alice would always bring over her
slippers and nightgown so she could wait with the kids at the head of the
stairs for the signal to race down in their pajamas to the presents,"
Margaret Wahlstrom said. "I don't know what we're going to do without her
Margaret Wahlstrom believes, however, that Mary Alice will be there in
spirit. She says that even now she intensely feels that her mother-in-law
and best friend is throughout the house where she was such a presence in
life, challenging and doting on her grandchildren.
The family has now found another way to cope, Margaret Wahlstrom says.
Several days ago she received a call from the grandmother of a 20-year-old
young woman who was also a passenger on Flight 11. "She was trying to find
the name of somebody who might have been sitting near the girl. She was
trying to find some comfort."
That call has led Margaret to start a statewide origami memorial, getting
school children to fold small paper birds -- cranes to symbolize
immortality. She wants to bring garlands made out of the cranes to New York
to help comfort other victims.
Margaret adds that her religion is a great source of comfort. She explained
to the New York Times that her LDS belief in the hereafter makes the
difference, "A plan of exaltation, a plan of salvation: they both are in a
better place." She also adds that while she knows the terrorists also
believed that their acts would save them, their beliefs can't be correct,
"There is no way, no way, any god condones murder." And, opening to the Book
of Ether in the Book of Mormon, she reads to the Times, "For the Lord
worketh not in secret combinations."
In Uneasy Time, Seeking Comfort in the Familiar Frights of Halloween
New York Times 21Oct01 P2
By Francis X. Clines