True friends are few and far in between, which makes losing them to death even more difficult. Four years ago, I lost my dear friend, Lee Weisbrod, to Mother Nature – a lightning strike. The hardest thing about losing a friend is not recalling the memories nor is it longing to hear their voice. Perhaps the hardest thing about losing a friend is keeping a sense of calm while maintaining your friend’s memory and re-adjusting the friendship. Death ultimately does not claim a friendship – it changes it. That in itself is a lesson that took me years to realize and ultimately accept.
Paul and My Dad on June 5, 2010
Recently, my father lost his best friend Paul Hanley. The two were best buds since childhood and all throughout their adult lives. Literally The Best Man in my father’s life, Paul died from a long fought battle with cancer – one I am proud to say he fought well. While my father and Paul were separated most of their adult lives by a minimum of six hours by car, the two chatted on the phone from time-to-time and even shot back a text message or two most recently. (Yes, my dad is a beginner in the texting world!)
My Dad and Paul in August 2008
I’m sure my father has lost some people in his 48 years of life; however, this loss does not compare. It is a loss I know well…
This weekend, my family and I will be making the drive to Maine to say our final goodbye to Paul as he enters his final resting place. For his sake, I hope there is a Harley Davidson, some pretty women and dogs that need rescuing awaiting his arrival.
RIP PAUL JOSEPH HANLEY
02.07.62 – 08.21.10
While stumbling around on the Internet, I came across the love story of Richard Butler and Bethany Lott. It’s a remarkable love story that knows no boundaries – even in death.
You see – Bethany Lott, 25, was struck by lightning while hiking with her boyfriend, Richard Butler. While enjoying two things she most likely loved the most – the nature and her boyfriend – Lott took a direct hit and ultimately passed.
According to Lott’s boyfriend, “her last words, about 30 seconds before it struck us, she turned to me and said, ‘God baby, look at it. Isn’t it beautiful?'”
I’ll give you a moment to grab your Kleenex.
Butler was planning on proposing to Lott during the hike.
Grab another Kleenex.
While this story pulls at my heart strings (and I’m sure yours), the most remarkable part is how Butler views living his life after experiencing such a tragedy. Being able to see beauty and love in the world around you so shortly after a tragedy is remarkable. It’s something I couldn’t do for some time.
Butler was quoted just days after losing his girlfriend in a news article stating, “I feel like it is my obligation to her to be as happy as I can be and be as productive with the rest of my life as can be and do as much good as she would’ve done if she could have.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Filed under News, Personal
The lucky few that have lived to tell their lightning strike tales describe getting struck by lightning in numerous ways.
Savannah Vowers, a 14-year-old girl from Littleton, Colorado who was struck recently while washing her mother’s truck, described getting struck by lightning as feeling like her “bones were crunching.”
Thirteen-year-old Connor Laughlin who was struck while holding an umbrella during a thunderstorm said being struck felt like ” a massive shock and it felt really sore as it was going through me. My legs buckled under me. It pushed me right over, the umbrella fell out of my hand and I hit the ground. It was like being hit by a truck and so loud.”
Other survivor stories can be found on The National Weather Service’s website at http://www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/survivors.htm.
What’s your survivor tale?
Filed under News, Personal