to wear or not to wear

Leave a comment

proverbs 3

For reasons I won’t go into here, I am supposed to where a heart monitor for the next two weeks. The heart monitor arrived via Fed Ex late yesterday afternoon and last night I proceeded to follow the instructions for activating it. The woman at the monitoring company was very helpful and “we” thought we were good to go. I did all the required installing of batteries, charging and powering up of the cell phone, attaching the electrodes and attaching the wires. I read how often to change the electrodes and how often to charge the phone. The only issue seemed to be “cell phone coverage”. The cell phone wasn’t happy with the coverage or lack of coverage. I explained to the woman cell phone coverage can be problematic in my area. No, I don’t have Sprint for my regular phone. “No worries, the phone will reset itself. Just start to wear the monitor.” So I slept with my new companion – a heart monitor. The cell phone needed to be charged and to be within feet of the monitor so I figured that out. As I was drifting off to sleep I thought about my schedule for the next two weeks, I realized I am leading a tour for friends on Saturday. Oh, great! I am walking onto the National September 11 Memorial with a metal object hanging on a lanyard, concealed under my clothing, with wires attaching it to my body. Wow! Probably not good. Then my imagination went wild – holy crap this could go bad fast. I envisioned the headline “9/11 widow shot by cops” “9/11 widow mistaken for suicide bomber”.

This morning I was still trying to figure out to what to do – where the monitor or don’t wear the monitor on Saturday? I was still imagining all kinds of drama. A telephone call  this afternoon from the monitoring company solved my dilemma. “We can’t connect with your device. Sprint doesn’t have good coverage in your area duh so we are sending you a Verizon phone. Please send the monitor back. You will get a new device on Monday”

Go figure. 🙂

 

grateful, culture and Paris

2 Comments

Gratitude-Henry Ward Beecher

I spoke at a women’s luncheon today about living a grateful life – my September 11 experiences and thoughts from the book of Philippians. I also shared a story I don’t usually share, a story about Paris. As the chairperson of the meeting read my bio, there was an audible gasp as she said “In 1990, Bruce achieved his lifetime dream of being a New York City Firefighter. Bruce was killed in the line of duty on September 11, 2001.” Even after 14 years that kind of reaction gives me pause, I feel bad because in some ways I feel like I have sucker punched everyone and in another way I feel like everyone looks at me differently. I have the sense that suddenly there is a giant flashing sign above my head “9/11 widow, 9/11 widow”. I also have the sense that people’s minds are spinning, the sense that people have lost their bearings so I try to say something to break the ice, something to kick-start their brains, something to interject air back into the room. Today I commented that I wish I could say that September 11, 2001 was the last terrorist attack that the world had experienced but unfortunately that is not the case.

I went onto say that I am saddened that there are more families who can say “I have had a personal loss in the midst of a national tragedy.” All loss is loss and all loss is sad but there is an extra layer of something when your personal loss is part of an event so much bigger than you.

I told my story  and mentioned how the book of Philippians is one of my favorite books in the Bible. I mentioned that Paul was in prison when he wrote it and how the word joy in some form appears 16 times. How Paul doesn’t mentioned changing his circumstances but talks about being contend. I think it all wove together.

In case you are interested, the story I added about Paris is:

In February 2002, Squad 41  called and said “there is an opportunity that made us think of you because you have culture*! The Paris Fire Department has invited FDNY widows and their children to France for one week. You will stay in the home of a firefighter and his family. They assure us that at least one person in the family will speak English.  Do you want to go?”  Yes, please.

The night before we were scheduled to leave for Paris my telephone rang, it was Charlie, Bruce’s lieutenant. “Ann, I want you to promise me you will still go to Paris. I already know your answer to what I am going to tell you next but they made me call you. (pause) We found Bruce’s body. We will come and pick you up if your want to be here when he is carried out.”  “Charlie, I can’t do that.” “I knew that.” “Listen it could take up to 6 weeks for him to be identified so please go to France.”

I didn’t say anything to my daughters because I didn’t want to ruin their trip and the FDNY said it would take 6 weeks for identification. We were treated like royalty – taken up the back entrance into Versailles so we didn’t have to wait in line, a police escort and private tour guide at Disneyland, Paris, a state dinner on a boat up the Seine River, gifts to take home including a bottle of champagne** that had been specially labeled with FDNY and Paris FD. The kindness and generosity of the French people was amazing.

An inside joke on the trip became when asked if I spoke French, I replied “all I remember from 4 years of High School French is “Ou est une bibliotheque?”  Not a very useful phrase. On our last night as we floated up the Seine River, one of the firefighters  pointed and said “Ann, une bibliotheque” – the library.

We returned home on the day before Easter. On Easter Sunday, the day when there is no body I was notified that yes, that was Bruce’s body. For years I didn’t understand the significance of there being a body on the day when it is all about there is no body. I came to realize that my hope is based in the fact there was no body on Easter so whether Bruce’s body was*** found or not on September 11,2001 Bruce was doing his job, whispered he loved his girls and was face to face with God.

When I heard of the attacks in Paris, I thought of those firefighters I had met, I thought of their families and I prayed for them.

 

 

*still not sure what “I have culture” means

** In 2011 the day after my second daughter got married my two daughters and their husbands opened that bottle of champagne and had a special toast to their dad. 🙂

*** I did mention that I am grateful Bruce’s body was found that 40% of families have had no human remains.

Autumnal randomness

Leave a comment

anne of green gables

I know it is November but to be honest the last few days  have felt like early September. Personally I think this quote could just as easily state “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Autumns.”

The autumn of 2015 has been particularly beautiful in my “neck of the woods.” The trees on the mountain sides surrounding my hometown have morphed into a beautiful quilt of yellow, red, orange and green.  I have been distracted while driving not by my cellphone but by the sheer beauty of a tree.

The crispness of the air is delightful in the morning and returns in the evening as the sun sets. Opening and closing the windows of my home has gotten to be a little annoying as I try to regulate the temperature of the rooms and avoid putting the heat on. Hard to believe that a couple of weeks ago I needed the heat on but the last few days have been perfect.

On my weekly drives to Pennsylvania, I have enjoyed watching flocks of  migrating birds fly, swoop and perch on telephone wires or tree branches. I never tire of seeing their creative patterns and formations. I marvel that I have never seen one bird crash into another bird. I mentioned that to a dance class once and a vocal young lady commented “that’s because they have the whole sky.” I don’t think that is the reason they don’t crash. I think they are aware of each other. Not in a “what’s your problem?” way but in “are you okay over there?” way.

I have two friends who love the word “autumnal”. They throw it into the conversation whenever possible. I have to admit. It is a cool word.

Just a few random thoughts on autumn. Thanks for reading. On another note, growing up Anne of Green Gables was one of my favorite books. Prince Edward Island is on my list to visit again in the not so distant future. PEI is a delightful island with a beauty that is serene. It isn’t majestic beauty like the mountains of Maine. It is a calm, peaceful beauty of  beaches, farms and rolling hills.