Pay it forward

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Today is the 30th anniversary of the Challenger tragedy. For many of us it is a national remembrance, for the younger generation it is a historical event and for the youngest it is ancient history but to some it is personal. Thank you families of the Challenger crew for your sacrifice and example.

random ramblings

Yesterday was the 28th anniversary for lack of a better word of the Space Shuttle Challenger exploding as it lifted off for a journey to space. I remember where I was. Most of us if we are of a certain age know where we were and what we were doing. It was a national tragedy but wives lost their husbands, husbands lost their wives, children lost their parent, parents lost their grown children and friends lost friends. It was their personal loss in the midst of a national tragedy.

On September 11, 2001 I would become a member of that club no one wants to be a member of. The “I have had a personal loss in the midst of a national tragedy” club. I mentioned this in reference to the Challenger anniversary because one of the most profound, generous things that happened in those days and weeks after September…

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Finally Home

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generations

My mother-in-law is finally home. She passed from this life to eternity early this morning. For years she had been saying (my paraphrase) “Each night I ask the Lord to just take me home and then I wake up in the morning and have another day. I don’t know why God still has me here?” Before she moved to assisted living I would answer that question with “I don’t know Mom but I think it is so we can go to Friendly’s together”. After she moved to assisted living I would say “I don’t know Mom but I think it is because there may be someone here who doesn’t know Jesus loves them.” My mother-in-law was 97 years old last September. She served in her church until she was in her 90’s. She picked up friends and drove them to church until she was in her 90’s which to be honest was always a little scary to me but what an example of servant hood. My mother-in-law truly practiced the gift of hospitality. She was always inviting people over for Sunday dinner. She hosted more missionaries and random people overnight in her home than you could believe.

My mother-in-law lived alone since her husband had died over 20 years ago. She outlived just about every one of her contemporaries. All of her siblings and their spouses are deceased. Many of her friends are deceased.  The one death that she told me time and time again she couldn’t understand was her son, my husband, Bruce Van Hine. Through the 14 years since his death, I would remind her that Bruce was a firefighter and he died in the line of duty doing a job he loved. I would say “It is the wrong order of things for a parent to bury a child.”  I would change the subject to remind her about her daughter and her husband and her 5  grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Naming each member of the family and mentioning where they lived and any stories I could think of. Showing her photos on FB.

My mother-in-law and I didn’t always see eye to eye. Surprisingly we actually became closer after Bruce’s death. We both lost someone we loved dearly. I realized that after a point you just need to cut people slack so a change in my attitude improved our relationship. Also I think if someone is in their 80’s or 90’s what the heck give them a break.

I had the privilege of being with my mother-in-law in her last days. I held the fort down until my sister-in-law could arrive from Kansas. I have to chuckle because last Thursday was the first day I ever wore knee high boots with jeans tucked in and because I didn’t have time to go home for a change of clothing I wore jeans with knee high boots for 4 days straight. I went to CVS and bought underwear, socks, toiletries and t-shirt. On Saturday my daughter drove in from PA and brought me some clothing but wow! my mother-in-law used to call me that dancer girl and here I am in an outfit she would never approve of or understand.  But on the bright side I played church hymns for her on my iPhone, held her cup so she could sip water, feed her one or two spoonfuls of yogurt and told her “if you see the hand of Jesus reaching out to you, grab it.” I prayed for her and read Bible passages and told stories. I left her on Sunday morning in the care of her daughter and I can honestly say “we” were good.

So today I am saddened but I am also rejoicing because my mother-in-law is home and she is reunited with her hubby and son. I am currently visiting my daughter who brought the clothing and her social work expertise on Saturday. And I had to smile because on her way home from work today she stopped at the grocery store and bought shrimp, cocktail sauce and blueberry muffins. All items in memory of her grandmother.

“Don’t worry Mom we are saving the muffins for breakfast. Mom, God answered your prayer. It took longer than you thought it would but He answered it. I love you. I will see you again. Give Bruce a hug from me.” Love Ann, that dancer girl and your daughter-in-law. 🙂

 

Wonderful story about this not being our home. http://www.ugandamission.net/ministry/teaching/homecoming.html

David Bowie and the Concert for New York City

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When I read the news that David Bowie had died I was saddened not because I was a super Bowie fan because a talented creative human being had died from a terrible disease that kills so many. I am saddened for his family and friends as they grieve their personal loss with the world.  David Bowie was a public figure but more than that he was someone’s dad, business associate and friend. Please take a moment to pray or send a good thought or whatever you do to those who truly knew him.

As I looked at the posts on FB of people sharing their “personal” Bowie stories, I was reminded that I had seen David Bowie perform at the Concert for New York City in October 2001. After seeing the clip I remembered his performance. To be honest I don’t remember much about that concert partially because it was over 14 years ago but mostly because I believe I was still in shock when I attended it.  I don’t think I was even functioning on auto-pilot as of that point.

Forgive me for jumping on the David Bowie band wagon but here is my David Bowie story:

The FDNY had invited my teenage daughters and myself to attend the Concert for New York City at Madison Square Garden.  The Concert for New York City was to be my first “rock” concert. I asked my brother and sister-in-law to come along. My little brother https://missannsays.com/2012/06/05/my-little-brother/ was a rock concert veteran and very tall. Both things I assumed could come in handy.  As we walked from the parking garage to MSG the streets were quiet. It seemed all wrong – this is NYC on a Saturday – quiet isn’t normal. Quiet gave way to loud as we entered MSG. Our seats were on side so we could actually see into the wings/ backstage so we could see who was up next. Thankfully my sister-in-law brought earplugs. The concert opened with David Bowie sitting on stage. The word that comes to mind is humble or humbled.  http://davidbowienews.com/2014/04/america-concert-for-new-york-city-2001/

There are three other things that resonate with me  about the concert:

  • The firefighters trying to make sure my daughters were having a good time. Escorting my daughters so they could have a front row view for part of the concert.
  • My 17-year-old and myself having an Abbott and Costello type conversation about “who” is on stage and me saying “The Who” and her saying who???
  • When former President Bill Clinton came on stage the atmosphere totally changed to a mob like mentality that was scary. My brother and FDNY escorts positioned themselves to protect my daughters, my sister-in-law and myself. Thankfully things calmed down but there was a few moments of raw emotion, too much beer, and lack of sleep that could have got bad. The only thing scarier than that was watching the Concert for New York on MSG network years later and hearing the announcer say “the Clintons were cheered.” I was dumbfounded and started yelling at the television. Really we can just change events like that. Not good. To the best of my memory neither former President Clinton or Hillary were cheered.  Wikipedia in their description of the Concert for New York mentions the dubbing in of cheers – what?!? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Concert_for_New_York_City

Thank you Mr. Bowie for sharing your talents and teaching us that we can always reinvent ourselves. Rest in Peace. May your family and friends find comfort in the memories and hope for the future.