landmark moments

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land·mark (lănd′märk′) n.
1. A prominent identifying feature of a landscape.
2. A fixed marker, such as a concrete block, that indicates a boundary line.
3. An event marking an important stage of development or a turning point in history.
4. A building or site with historical significance, especially one marked for preservation by a municipal or national government.

Having great import or significance: a landmark court ruling

Today was a landmark moment for the family and friends of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Today the words they had feared and dreaded were spoken aloud for all to hear. Oh, they were first said to those closest to the event but they were repeated for the world to hear.

“It’s with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that according to this new data, Flight 370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

I can identify with “landmark moments” that the world shares. I remember vividly a meeting on September 18, 2001 in a NYC hotel. The mayor, the governor, the head of the FDNY all there to tell the FDNY families “we are going from rescue to recovery”. Oh, we knew first but within hours the world would know. See, when I am the “world” during a landmark moment, there is a sense of that is done, what’s next. The moment/event starts to fade from the headlines. But when I am the “first to know” there is a sense of utter disbelief, my hope wanes, my mind spins and I grasp for something to hold onto. My prayer for the families of flight 370 is simple “may they find peace, may they find strength, may they find hope, may they know God loves them”

Today was also a landmark moment for the September 11, 2001 community. Today the opening date (May 21, 2014) for the National September 11 Museum was announced. Another landmark…

Then and Now – March 11

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Today marks the third “anniversary” of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan. I had the amazing opportunity to visit Japan last August as part of a group from the Tribute Center. Another group from Tribute had visited Japan in October 2012. My friend Jeanette, who was part of that first group, shared the following email and the very moving response. I asked her permission to share it on my blog.

“just wanted to you know that I am thinking of you and all my friends in Japan today. Good thoughts and prayers are sent your way for continued recovery and healing. I am sorry that this awful thing happened on 3/11 but I am very, very grateful for the beautiful friendships that have blossomed from such a terrible disaster.

You have my deepest sympathy for those lost and much love and respect for those who have survived and have helped in the recovery.

Kindest regards, Jeanette”

The reply she received:

“The past three years have proved that time alone can not erase and lessen the pains and sadness of people who had experienced such an incredible disaster over such a vast area of space and a huge number of people affected.

On the contrary, as time goes on, it can even prolong and exacerbate the sorrow and sadness of people who are still unsure of where and when one can finally have a home of her or his own, in spite of passing already of three years., because for many who are still in a tiny temporary accommodation, having a new final home is still many years away if any. The time of the third anniversary is therefore, a hard reminder that in spite of many things apparently done so far, the drama of war-footing is still on-going, and a happy end is not yet in sight for most of people. This is a reality that hundreds of thousands of the tsunami survivors must be feeling right now all over the affected regions. Not in spite of, therefore, but because of such an obvious anniversary day, many people are feeling even sadder and more worried today lest their problems and worries being forgotten slowly and quietly.

In such a season, your kind and considerate thoughts and prayers are more appreciated and heartfelt than before, and these feelings of appreciations and gratefulness on our part is even stronger when we think that those messages and encouragements come from those who have the 9/11 legacies themselves.”

203This little boy came out to greet us when we arrived at the temporary housing site in August 2013. He was carrying the Tribute Center coin he had received from the group in October of 2012. He was displaced from his home because of the nuclear radiation spill. He is the face of Fukushima to me. He is who I think of when I say a prayer.

Random hospital thoughts

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1. It is no longer the ER – emergency room, it is the ED – emergency department. So if the TV show “ER” was still on, would it be called “ED”?

2.If hospitals are serious about HIPAA rules, then patients need to be in private rooms. The curtain in rooms works to protect visual privacy but you can hear everything through that curtain. Just think a family member, who didn’t have permission for access to patient information could easily ask their roommate and/or their roommate’s visitors for the scoop.

3. Even if you call it a Room Service, it isn’t room service. Room service is something you order as a treat when staying in a nice hotel. It is not the food you receive during a hospital stay.

4. Portable X-ray machines are a marvel but the fact you covered the both patients in the room with a lead aprons, suggested the visitors leave the room, walked in the hall and yelled “X-ray room 7” makes you wonder if it is a good idea.

5. Thanks to smart phones you can easily google “code red, code orange and code gray”. Oh, my!!!

6. A chaplain stopping by helps.

7. Nurses and techs work very hard.

8. Acknowledging the housekeeping and transport staff is simple and gets you a smile and polite conversation the next day.

9. Having your mother’s ICU nurse say “if you are not sure where to wait, just come home” in response to the question “should we wait in the main surgical waiting room or ICU?” makes you feel safe and secure. 🙂

10. ” I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”

the wisdom of a 10 year old

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I have been staying at my sister’s home because my mother is in the hospital. The other evening at dinner my 6-year-old niece commented “someone farted! F-A-R-T” My sister informed her that wasn’t polite and we don’t mention such things at the dinner table. My 10-year-old niece chimed in “you shouldn’t say farted instead you should say who cut the cheese!” My brother-in-law instantly stated “you are grounded for a month and this is why children shouldn’t go to school”. I was expecting to hear my sister say something but there was silence. I glanced in her direction and she was sitting there absolutely dumbfounded. I have never seen my sister look so totally confused and bewildered. I looked at my 10-year-old niece and said “you have left your mother speechless.”

After a moment or two my sister could finally formulate words. And to be honest, I don’t know what she said I was trying to hold it together. I kept looking down at my plate, I grabbed another napkin but I couldn’t help myself and I burst into laughter. My sister started laughing as well. It was the perfect remedy for a very stressful week. The whole scene still makes me chuckle. I am not sure what is funnier the fact that my 10-year-old niece truly thought she was helping the 6-year-old because everyone knows you shouldn’t say fart but no one ever said you shouldn’t use the words cut and cheese. Or the look on my sister’s face.

Not to worry the 10-year-old has been informed not to use that expression. 🙂