Category Archives: Personal

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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6 Years; 6 Letters

With every anniversary of Lee’s death, I take the time to sit and write a letter to him. Since his death, six years ago today – there has been six letters. Each has been left at the cemetery…

 

July 22, 2012

Lee –

Some people don’t believe others change. I, on the other hand, am a firm believer that they do. Since you’ve been gone – 6 years – a lot around this world has changed, and I have changed (I’m not the type of person that wakes up early on a Sunday to hit the gym – a far cry from the girl who dreaded running ‘The Mile’ in gym class).

I often wonder: where you’d be; what you’d be doing; and how you would have changed from July 22, 2006 to now. The difficulty for me is that I’ll never know.

One thing I am most certain of – from the top of my head to the tips of my toes – is that you’d be by my side, for a friendship like ours never changes.

I love you; I miss you.

– Young Grasshopper

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The Record: ‘For families that lose a child’

It’s been an honor keeping Lee Weisbrod‘s memory alive. It’s also an honor to be recognized for a hobby that continues to touch so many people…be sure to read today’s front page news story, “For families that lose a child, ‘a part of you dies’,” in The Record…you may see someone you know featured. 😉

And, a special hello to my new visitors…whether you found me through The Record article or some other avenue, I’m glad you’re here. Be sure to stay awhile, learn something and, of course, say hello!

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What I’m Reading

No matter what news source I’m reading, my brain and eyes immediately register “lightning strike.” It’s without fail the first click I make with my mouse. Today, I stumbled upon an article titled “Edwards County man struck by lightning while sleeping” featured on KSAT.com, which was featured CNN U.S.‘s homepage.

Apparently, Cheval Silva was struck by lightning while soundly sleeping in his house. The article reads, “A bolt of lightning had come through the roof and struck his shoulder and exited his foot, catching both him and his favorite chair on fire.”

Luckily for Silva, and his granddaughter who was sleeping nearby and unharmed, he only sustained some nerve damage.

Articles such as this have been featured on the blog from time to time. They always get me thinking why some live while others die from a lightning strike. There’s no rhyme or reason…the only comfort I’ve received, to this day, is to think those who have died from a lightning strike had bigger plans in store “upstairs.” Yup, I’m going with that.

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It’s Too Early For This…

Before every “thunderstorm season,” I have to prepare myself. Silly, perhaps, because it is out of my control but it allows me to mentally prepare for all the memories and feelings thunderstorms (more specifically, lightning) conjure up. So, when I saw the weather report for today, I wasn’t ready to see this…

…scattered thunderstorms.

I also wasn’t ready for the rumble of thunder and the crack of lightning that occurred a short while ago.

Moral of the story: It’s time to get ready!

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Record Low for Lightning Deaths in 2011

According to an article published by The Washington Post entitled “Record low for lightning deaths in 2011 but tornado deaths third highest; why the disparity?,”

lightning deaths were lowest in the 71-years of record keeping. Just 26 people were killed by lightning in 2011, which is amazing considering the frequency of violent severe weather outbreaks across the U.S. By comparison, 551 people were killed by tornadoes in 2011, the most since 1950 and third highest on record according to NOAA.”

Why so few lightning deaths?

The article credits “a successful public education campaign,” as stated by John Jensenius, the National Weather Service‘s lightning expert.

“In large part, the reduction in lightning fatalities is due to the efforts of many people and organizations who help educate the public on the dangers of lightning and make the public more aware of our lightning safety recommendations,” he said.

When I started this blog in September of 2008, I wrote, “It is in this weblog that I plan to show North Jersey’s progression of installing the lightning detection as well as promoting awareness.” Today, in January of 2012, I am proud to say that I have had a hand in changing the lightning death statistics. I’d like to think that this blog – despite its small stature compared to the vast Internet world, has made a difference.

I’d also like to thank you, the reader, because without you reading (and learning), those statistics wouldn’t have changed.

And, of course, I’d like to thank Lee Weisbrod. This new finding further proves that his death was not in vain.

Here’s to keeping lightning deaths at a minimum…

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