Category Archives: mourning

Just Another 9/11 Story?

I really don’t know where I was or what I was doing on 9/11/2001. I do remember watching the TV, and seeing how at first it was presented as an accident. Then the 2nd plane hit, and my stomach dropped. I’m sure every American watching it was horrified, just like me, because it was then we knew: it was out and out terrorism. Hatred against America. Hatred against you, and me, and our children.

I was torn between not being able to keep my eyes from the screen, and not wanting to believe it was true. No one who was around at that time was the same after that. The only good thing that came from it was that we were drawn together to help one another. We saw what human compassion was, and, most important, we drew close to God and begged for His help, together.

This compassion, this help, this love and care for one another, and especially, this turning toward God, did not last. In fact, many in our great Nation have become violent, unruly, disrespectful, and selfish. People have many explanations for why this is happening. Some are silent, some outspoken, some engaged in out-and-out war. This has been happening in different degrees over time, long before 9/11, but seeing it now breaks my heart. It has become the norm to see terrorism nearly every day on the news, whether it’s by a large group or a few individuals.

Who knows if something like 9/11 might happen again? Then again, as I said, terrorism is happening right on our streets today. I don’t point my finger at any one group or person, and you shouldn’t either. Jesus said, “… He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone…” (from John 8:7). We also read that “… all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23).

What if our land is attacked once again? Why do we have to wait ’til then? What is it going to take, how bad does it have to get NOW, before we start over with the caring and compassion? Most important, when do we start begging God, like the Israelites did, for mercy, for a cease-fire?

But we CAN have peace. God has indeed provided a way for all of us to receive His grace and mercy: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16). Peace may not happen all around us, but we will have peace with God through Christ (Romans 5:1).

Think this is unrelated? For me to “sneak in” a little Bible, “just because I can?”

Think on this, and this is my point: How many people died that day, outside of Christ? The statistics can be found anywhere online. They left their homes that morning, having no idea they would not return. Now, think on how many people, young and old, lose their lives unexpectedly now, from different causes. Frightening thought if they no longer have the opportunity to come before God, because they thought they had time.

God made a big investment in us, while we were yet sinners. He has made it quite simple for us to receive His salvation. Jesus said, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.” (John 5:24)

Send me a message if you need to know more about Jesus!

Oh Brrrrother!

I’ve had my brother on my mind a lot the last few days. I don’t know what triggered the thoughts. Don’t get me wrong, I often think about him, but it’s been more frequently of late.

My brother Jeff was 2 years younger than I. Yes, was. He was 51 when he passed away, in November of 2012, so that makes it almost 3 years.

What do I remember about him the most? It is hard to say. So many memories. One of my first memories of him, skiing at Sugarloaf. He was a real hot dog on skis; way more daring than I was. We hardly ever skiied together; only when he felt sufficiently sorry for me if I had to ski alone.

I remember standing at the top of a section of a more difficult trail, almost trembling in fear. Ok, I was trembling. He stood at the bottom of the “hill,” ahem (not a hill), looking up at me and trying to talk me down. “Go back and forth,” he hollered. “You don’t have to come straight down.”

Well, of course my skis had other ideas. Straight down they went, and I ended up skiing with my back almost parallel to the slope, until indeed I fell, as I had known I would. Hence, the trembling.

He kindly walked up to where I had fallen, picking up gloves and ski poles and one boot, oh, by the way, still attached to a ski, and he didn’t even laugh.

I think that’s probably the last time he skiied with me.

We were BFFs before BFFs were cool, especially when they’re your younger brother. One time I took a photo of him when he was fooling around. He had cut out a great big eye from a magazine page, and taped it to the back of one of his eyeglass lenses, so that one eye appeared much bigger than the other. He was always a goof like that; he loved making people laugh! Later, in a book of memories I had written and illustrated, I recreated that photo; it is often in the back of my mind.

Another memory: Hanging out together in the observatory of our home here in Maine. We lived in a converted cottage situated on a suburban hill. “Observatory,” we’d say, with an English accent and an aristocratic air. Most likely, the room had originally looked out over the ocean, but as the area grew more populated, the view became more and more obscured.

Here is where I start wanting to censor myself. For one thing, “don’t air your dirty laundry” is second only to “don’t air your family’s laundry.” In fact, I’ve said too much already. Ok, delete, delete, delete. Guess I need to write more fiction, lol.

Jeff was very sensitive to my divulging personal issues. Several years ago I was writing a short series of guest columns for the local paper, and he gave me the dickens for “disclosing a family secret” that I had thought was merely an amusing anecdote. Even toward the end of his life Jeff continued to insist that that had been a major faux pas.

And so if I tell you much more, I can see that Frank Zappa-fied finger (he loved the Frank) pointing down at me from Heaven saying “you’d better not!”


Well, I will stop there and say that my brother died as the result of a couple of brain injuries that he had sustained a few years previously. Which is the short version.

I don’t think of him often. Only in the winter. Only when I hear about others’ grief and loss.

Only on days which end in “y.”

Miss you, Buddy. 🙂