Today is in honor of September 11th. For some, this day may be all about the World Trade Center and how the events of that day transformed our lives. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. I was working at Mia’s Christmas Shop in Ocean City, NJ. We had just opened when I was called into the office by Charlie, the owner, who had the television on showing the attacks. Charlie immediately started to collect money for those whose families and lives would be changed as a result of this horrific event. I got to share the events of the morning with many people who were on vacation and CLUELESS about what was happening on that day. Those days were filled with words like: Hero, Compassion, Love, Kindness, and Bravery.
September 11th took on a new meaning in 2011. Heaven gained another Weston angel – Edythe, my aunt, my friend and my mom’s middle sister. Growing up, I spent ALOT of time with Edythe (and Elsie). When I was younger, they were my babysitters. As the years went on, they were a BIG part of my support system. Edythe (along with the rest of my family) helped to raise Belinda. As Belinda grew up, lives changed – the world moved a little faster and we lost touch with the exception of holidays.
July, 2010, a family friend told me Edythe had gone to the ER for what they thought was pneumonia only to find out that she had cancer. As tough as it was to take those first steps, stuff all of the negative feelings that had grown over the years – I headed to the hospital, unsure of what to expect. Awkward moments followed but over the next year or more, we would talk come to peace with the feelings of abandonment and of losing a friend. Edythe had a tumor adjacent to her kidney. Kidney cancer that moved to her lungs and her brain. No pain, no symptoms so through God’s grace a simple case of the flu took her to the ER. The next year plus would be filled with chemo, multiple doctor visits as well as long stints in Centra State Hospital.
Edythe was at our wedding in May, 2011 after a brief stay in the hospital. She was DETERMINED to be there and she was – thankfully. The days leading up to September 11th were filled with many emotions. Edythe had been doing well and talked about going home. With a blink of an eye, things changed – the pain intensified until the only relief made her sick and almost comatose. She decided that this was not quality of life. Within about 36 hours of asking for Hospice, Edythe was called home to join the rest of the Weston clan – Mom-mom, Pop-pop and Elsie on September 11th.
The words that described those involved in the September 11th attacks and recovery efforts could now relate to Edythe:
1. Hero who continued to fight despite the pain. Edythe still remained active in Eastern Star and Rainbow. Edythe was a HERO to me. She was a beautician (I know I am showing my age now) who bought the business (Tempo Hairdressers) in Ocean Grove where she worked for many years. I was always in awe of the way that she managed money. Not making a lot by today’s standards, she managed to be debt free, have a home (rental property with a mortgage), a thriving business and live life to the fullest. I wish that some of that money management had of rubbed of on me!
2. Compassion, Love, Kindness – all have different meanings but are so intertwined. Edythe never had an unkind word for anyone. She would give you the shirt off her back, if you needed it. A trait that we all learned from my grandfather – thank you Pop-pop.
3. Bravery – Edythe was brave in many areas of her life long before the cancer hit. Some see it as business savvy but to me, she was brave. She stepped out of the box in so many ways but her strength in those final weeks were beyond belief
As we reflect on this day, hug the ones you love, forgive the ones who you believe have done you wrong and enjoy the moment with those you love. Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!