Monthly Archives: July 2013

Saying Hi

“And I go back to the loss of a real good friend
and the 16 summers I shared with him.
Now ‘Only The Good Die Young’ stops me in my tracks.
Every time I hear that song,
I go back.”

Kenny Chesney

 

“You think Lee will say hi today?” asked Fiancé this morning while peering out the window.

He must have noticed the puzzlement on my face because he quickly continued – “It’s supposed to thunderstorm today,” he said.

Since Lee’s passing seven years ago today, Fiancé has continually calmed my nerves and thwarted my fears in regards to thunderstorms by saying thunderstorms were just Lee saying hi – similar to when I was much, much younger and my mother would tell me the angels were bowling. Since I’m not a fan of bowling, the idea of Lee saying hi has always been much more pleasant, especially on a day like today – the anniversary of his death.

Currently, it is storming – over “Celebration” by Madonna on the local radio station and the sound of my fingers striking the keyboard, I can hear thunder from my office. I can hear Lee saying hi, and it’s a sweet sound – a celebration of his life of sorts.

Rest in peace, my friend.

 

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Clarity: Seven Years In The Making

Next week [Monday, July 22] will mark seven years since the passing of my dear friend, Lee. And in those seven years I’ve found my wings and grown into the young lady before you today – I’m the assistant editor of three weekly community newspapers; I freelance for two magazine publications; I’m a fiancée and will be a wife in two months and 10 days [But who is counting?!]; I’m a half-marathon finisher; and I like to think I’m a pretty great friend, older sister, daughter, etc. and soon-to-be sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, etc.

In those seven years, a lot has changed for me personally, and in growing I found acceptance – acceptance not only for who I am, but also for Lee’s death. For years, I was bitter; angry; and unsettled. But, those days are gone and I didn’t come to that realization until last night.

After a long workday and walking into my house, I was greeted by Fiancé who excitedly said he had something to show me. I dropped my bags and headed to the TV where he turned on a recorded news program.

The program highlighted the Borough of Cresskill who had just unanimously approved an ordinance that would fine residents who ignore lightning alarms as much as $1,000.  Under the new Cresskill ordinance, anyone who fails to vacate a field or public pool within 10 minutes of a lightning alarm could face the fine.

The broadcast journalist, stationed at a Cresskill field, interviewed a local woman on hand. Before I knew it, she uttered Lee’s name. In 2006, two teens were struck by lightning in Montvale, killing them, she said. Since, towns around New Jersey have adopted lightning detection systems, and more are in the process of installing them, she continued.

Then images of my friends and I hugging, crying and huddled around “the spot” where Lee lost his life flashed across the screen. In an instant, a flash of light, I was transported back to that field – my heart indeed was heavy, hurting, bleeding.

But, a light bulb went off.

For years I’ve been keeping this blog and watching towns throughout New Jersey, specifically Bergen County, install lightning detection systems in light of Lee’s tragedy. In light of Lee’s tragedy.

Last night, for the first time, I realized Lee was taken for a reason – a reason that will save others lives. Lee’s death has made a difference. Lee’s death is making a difference.

In life, Lee went out of his way to put a smile on the faces of friends and even strangers. So, in death, it is not surprising to me that he’s still attempting to help people.

That was his life purpose. And, for that, my heart is finally content. Sure I wish he were here with me – I wish that everyday. But, I’m tired of being even an ounce bitter. I’m tired of wondering what if. It’s time for clarity.

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