Hope Wissel

Memories of September 11th

Edythe

Today is in honor of September 11th.   Do you remember where you were on September 11th?

I remember that day as if it was 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.

In 2011, September 11th took on a new meaning in our family.  Heaven gained another Weston angel – Edythe, my aunt, my friend and my mom’s middle sister.  Growing up, I  Edythe (and Elsie) 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. Lives changed – the world moved a little faster and we lost touch with the exception of holidays.

In July, 2010, a call from a family friend caught me by surprise.  Edythe had gone to the ER for what she thought was pneumonia only to find out that she had cancer.  As tough as it was to take those first steps, stuff the years of negative feelings – I headed to the hospital, unsure of what to expect.  Awkward moments followed but over the next year or more, we would 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.

On May 21st, 2011, Edythe attended our wedding 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  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 attack and recovery efforts describe Edythe:

1. Hero who continued to fight despite the pain. Edythe still remained active in Eastern Star and Rainbow.  She gave her time to encourage and inspire others.  She was a beautician (I know I am showing my age now) who bought 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!  Edythe was a HERO!

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.  This is my mission with my business.  Showing compassion, kindness and love to those who are struggling to help them smile!

3. Bravery – Edythe was brave in many areas of her life long before the cancer hit. Some see it as business savvy.   She stepped out of the box to create the life she wanted, against all odds.  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!

Hope Wissel

September 11th

Edythe

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!

 

Hope Wissel

Nurses Day

close up nurses & teachers

Happy Nurses Appreciation Day!  I will be celebrating these “every day heroes” at Community Hospital in Toms River today from 4 – 8PM.  Thirty One created these two NEW icons for the summer to CELEBRATE – ENCOURAGE – REWARD those who are there for us every day – nurses and teachers.

I remember thinking as a little girl – it would be fun to be a nurse.  I thought it was a simple as putting a band-aid on a cut or calming someone down when they were upset.  WRONG!  When I found out that there was more to it – dare I say, the blood and guts – I knew that it was not the profession for me.  I pass out (okay, it hasn’t happened in awhile) when blood is taken, I hate needles and don’t do well when someone is sick (I usually end up getting sick too).  When I realized that this was not the professional for me, I realized that these are very special women (and some  men) who do this day in and day out.

I have met some who should NOT be nurses (okay maybe I caught them on a bad day).  I remember being the ER with Elsie (my aunt, my buddy) as she was wheeled in and explaining to them that she had cancer.  When the nurse came back later and I asked a question, her response “there is not much we can do, you know she is dying right?”.  REALLY!  Of course, I knew that the cancer was slowly killing her but the way she said it hit me so wrong.  I wanted to ring her neck!  No, there wasn’t much they could do but make her comfortable and it was 6 days later that Elsie passed away surrounded my family on a floor with VERY caring nurses.

Fast forward 12 years, to the AMAZING nurses at Centra State who took care of Edythe (my other aunt) as cancer ravaged her body.  There are not words to describe this group of caring, compassionate nurses.  They always seemed to know what she needed, when she needed it and when to leave her alone with family and loved ones.  We all knew that the cancer was killing her but no one said it, they shared comforting words and encouragement each time I came in contact with them.

As with any job – there are nurses who LOVE what they do and then there are some who lost the love along the way and it became just a job.  Through it all, they are the ones who are there through all kinds of sickness, caring for those we love.  Thank you to all of you who entered this challenging field…

Celebrate YOUR favorite nurse by singing their praise…

Have a ThirtyOne-derful day!