09/11/2014 04:26 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

'Reflections From Losing My Mother on 9/11'


Meet Amish.

He lost his mother on 9/11. She worked for Marsh & McLennan on the 97th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center, right in the middle of the impact zone (93rd-99th floors) of the terrorist attacks.

Initially, after 9/11, Amish was angry, depressed, and confused. He stopped eating voluntarily, and he stopped caring about life. He was just 7 years old.

I became a mentor for Amish after 9/11 through an amazing organization called Tuesday's Children, who matches children who lost a parent on 9/11 with an adult who lives in their area that has similar interests.

Over the years, Amish and I have played catch, gone to the movies, had great meals, and even hung out with the Mets and Yankees. If anybody has a right to be angry at life, Amish does, but he never ceases to amaze me with his great attitude towards life.

Amish is now 20 years old and just moments ago, he spoke with me about the past 13 years. Here is what he has learned:

1. Life is not about what happens to you, but how you react. Things happen in life that can be devastating, but it's always our choice whether we let those circumstances control us, or not.
2. Nothing positive ever comes from being negative. Amish learned that being angry would not help change anything, and it would only hurt himself, so he decided to move on, and make the best of every day.
3. We can't go back and create a new beginning, but we can start to create a new ending. Amish confessed, "I still do everything to make my mother proud." I lost my mother to cancer but in a strange way I feel closer to her now, and I certainly try to make her proud on a daily basis, so I couldn't agree more.
4. Living in the past is like driving a car only looking in the rear view mirror. Amish still thinks about 9/11, but he doesn't dwell on it. To him, it doesn't make sense to keep thinking about what happened and continue to make himself feel miserable. So Amish has learned to stay in the present moment. In fact, that's the advice Mariano Rivera of the Yankees gave Amish during HOPE Week back in 2011.
5. We can all overcome adversity. Because of 9/11, Amish has learned many life lessons. He has also spent time with the New York Yankees, the New York Mets, and made life-long friends with others who also lost a parent in 9/11, or similar situations.

I can't even begin to imagine what 9/11 must have been like for Amish, but I do know this...

There isn't a day that goes by that I'm not amazed at what a great young man he has turned into, and how grateful I am that he came into my life. Thank you, Amish for inspiring me to become a better version of myself, and for showing me that no matter what life throws at us, we can still hit one out of the park.

PS I can't wait to have a catch with you soon...


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