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At the first anniversary there was a sense of needing to do the “right” thing, the appropriate thing, the expected thing. I am so grateful to a friend who said “do what you want to do” and we did. Meghan and I traveled to Quincy, MA to be with Emily who had just started her freshmen year of college. We attended chapel on campus, then drove down to the waterfront and sat and talked about Daddy (Bruce), we prayed, we cried and we wrote in our “things we would have told you” book – a recap of the year. Later, we ventured into Boston for lunch. I remember we stumbled upon numerous television crews at Nathaniel Hall and not knowing if we should laugh or cry, we kept our distance. We wanted to just be a mom and her daughters missing their dad/husband not 9/11 family members. There was something surreal about the day as there has been something surreal about so many days.

As the years have passed the advice of that friend “to do what you want to do” has proven to be excellent advice. Some years I have taken part in local ceremonies in Greenwood Lake or Rochelle Park or attended unique opportunities like ringing the bell at the NASDAQ or the concert at the Beacon Theatre.  I don’t venture to the National September 11 Memorial ceremony because I don’t think I can take on the grief of all those people. We don’t always write in the “things we would have told you” book anymore. We aren’t necessarily physically together because one daughter lives in Seattle and the other in PA.

This Friday will mark the 14th anniversary. I haven’t decided what I want to do this year. This year is a tricky year because my one daughter has now lived 14 years with her dad and 14 years without him and that breaks my heart. It seems harder this year because I have so many Tribute Center friends and I carry their stories as well. A few things that were true on the first anniversary are true on the 14th. I will talk to my daughters and I will tell them how very proud their Dad would be of them and I will remind them that he loved them so much. I will ask them to remember to pray for the other families, and the Squad 41 firefighters.  I will thank God for His faithfulness, my family and friends. And we will wish that we were just a mom and daughters missing their dad/husband who died in the line of duty and not 9/11 family members because a personal loss in the midst of a national tragedy adds so many layers.

 

5 thoughts on “

  1. Miss Ann, you are both a blessing and inspiration to those around you. You have always been a woman of wisdom and that has only been magnified as you depend on the Lord for His strength, wisdom and courage. Rest assured that those of us who know and love your family, pray for you and your girls and will continue to do so as each anniversary approaches. Bruce was a man of light and always brought good cheer, wherever and whenever our paths crossed. He is missed and you and the girls are loved!

  2. So many of us will be praying for you and yours on this day. So thankful for Bruce’s service and his sacrifice in the line of duty.

  3. Miss Ann, at a prayer circle this evening, I thanked God for his timing. I find myself thanking him again for your words have come to me at the perfect time. I lost my husband 2 years ago of a sudden heart attack, he was a FireFighter in a nearby town. I’m still trying to catch footing. Thank you for sharing some of the details of how you and your daughters have coped. It’s a true blessing to me. Your husband was truly a hero and I believe you are too. My prayers are with you for your continued strength and love in the lord.

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