September 11 – A Day We Will Never Forget – My Personal Journey

It was sometime after seven when my phone rang. I was groggy and half awake but somehow felt the need to answer my phone. Kim was the on the other end frantically telling me to turn my television on. Without hesitation or knowledge of why, I did. She then began to tell me the cryptic pieces of information surrounding a plane going into the World Trade Center. It was moments later when I witnessed the second plane make a permanent impression in my mind. I soon hung up and continued to stare at the screen as my eyes got lost far beyond the scenes I was seeing on the television screen.

I sat silently and still on the floor, watching, absorbing, and reflecting as the news trying to make sense of this madness. Memories of my days on Wall Street came back quickly and I could remember my footsteps from the PATH train to Broad Street. Now that path is covered in rubble and smoke and the familiar sounds of taxis are now filled with screams.

After several hours, without knowing what to do or who to call, I played nine holes of golf. Upon completion, as I walked the final path to the clubhouse, my phone rang. I don’t know why, but had a feeling the news was not good. I had no reason to believe that the call from my parent’s home phone was good or bad news, but I knew. Maybe it was the day playing in the back of my mind or perhaps the knowledge that my parents rarely ever called me during the day. With a brief hesitation, I answered to hear my father on the other end confirming my notion. I received the news that my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Mid afternoon on September 11 as the world reacted, lived and digested what would become the most memorable day of our lives, I stood alone hearing the word you never want to hear in relation to a family member, friend or yourself.

Much of the next several hours were a bit of a blur. Sometime in between the hours of 8:00 PM and 10:00 PM I leaned on a rock just outside my apartment and looked up at the sky. My first thought was of the deafening silence filling the sky with only the view of stars shining. No planes, no helicopters, no sound resonating. Of course this being in the middle of a remote part of Oklahoma would not have shocked anyone but living seven miles from an international airport meant something else. How can complete silence send shivers down one’s spine? I don’t know, but the empty sound was the spark that drove me into a period of weakness and sorrow. I shed a tear as an entire day of devastation ran circles in my mind. Over and over I remember the calls, the videos, the commentary and through all that, it was the silence that sent me over the edge.

That was September 11, 2001.

One year and six days later, we lost her.

Fifteen years have passed, ten years older and more mature. The world as you and I know it changed that day, not in a temporary mode but a permanent way of life. It awakened us to the notion that we are all vulnerable. How often to we go to a movie and watch a blockbuster about an apocalyptic event and sit in awe at the wonder of Hollywood magic? Yet, to witness the unimaginable happen before our eyes wondering and praying that our friends and loved ones were not part of this madness is something not many of us would pay the price of admission for. I grew up in New Jersey, raised by two home bread New York parents. Spent some time on Wall Street living the American dream. Never in the midst of the madness known as New York City could I imagine an event so catastrophic ever happening in my backyard.

If asked what emotions went through my system that day, I would have to say shock, fear, heartbreak, concern, confusion and hope. I am sure you are thinking why “hope” in that list of negative emotions. Well, without hope, we have nothing. Everyday we live with the risk of tragedy whether it affects one person or thousands, yet each day we wake up to a new sunrise with the hope of a day filled with happiness and love.

September 11 was tragic for me in so many ways, mostly personal. I needed to feel hope that as a family we would be by my mother’s side supporting her, comforting her and knowing together we could beat this disease. As we come closer to the 10th anniversary of the day that changed our lives forever, I will be thinking about my mother and the struggles she had to endure so that we could have the blessing of having her in our lives.

My greatest tragedy of that day was not the events over lower Manhattan. It was that I was not there to hug and hold my mother when she received the news of the unwelcome visitor in her body. I’m sorry Mom.


Mama, Where are you? – Original Poem



Why did you leave me behind?

Alone in a sea of despair
Question unanswered
Dreams unfulfilled
Tranquility turned to chaos; vision to blindness

You raised me to believe in me
But never to accept me


Stern and safe
Warm and comforting
Dead and cold

I’m not mad
Not blue; nor sad

Deep in thought; mirrored in reflection

One last hug
One last sound

That is my wish



Why did you leave?
Stay a little longer
Sing me a lullaby
Promise me another Kiss

Mom Dream – Original Poem


I had a dream last night.

One fueled by liquid comfort and protected between sheets of cotton and dormant time

A dream of happiness and sadness trapped in suspension.  Hovering above outside my reach, but lingering in hope, guilt, despair and soothing tranquility

There she was; so full of life

Working to prepare for the impending company. Busy and anxious.

Outside pods filled with my childhood.  Soon to be gone.  Soon, to be so distant, the fog will blind me from any remaining senses

I didn’t see it.  I didn’t realize it

My present and past found their way to each other acting out this play in my psyche.

I, on my knees, watched in confusion

Not until my eyes opened to the darkness of reality did I see

It was her goodbye.  I treated it with ill respect; with only my childish demeanor

I was a child; or was I an adult?


Was my dream fueled by memory or transference from my past to present?

Was I saying goodbye to my home, my mother, my childhood or innocence?

Was I opening the door to uncertainty?

I had a dream last night

I saw my mother

I smiled; now I reflect

Mother, Lover, Teacher, Friend – Original Poem


Divorced from the bondage of another
Now a bird free to fly

A runner with wings on her heels with visions of the open road and sensual freedom strengthening her journey

She is a mother, a lover, a teacher, a friend
A companion, true as the wind; pure as the air

A life dedicated to the essence of good; led by the values of intelligent passion
Teaching the children of the world the path to happiness while seeking answers to her own personal odyssey

In her eyes, I see the spirit of a young girl awakened and curious
Seeing life for the first time once again


A rebirth from the Lord’s hands
Nurtured by the earth
Fed by the hands of angels

Now is her time

A time to be free
A time to find love
A time to release

To all the Moms – A Celebration of your unconditional love

“A mother is a person who seeing there are only four pieces of pie for five people, promptly announces she never did care for pie.” ~Tenneva Jordan

“Being a full-time mother is one of the highest salaried jobs… since the payment is pure love.” ~Mildred B. Vermont

“Mothers hold their children’s hands for a short while, but their hearts forever.” ~Author Unknown

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” ~Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty

“Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.” ~Marion C. Garretty

“Mother – that was the bank where we deposited all our hurts and worries.” ~T. DeWitt Talmage

“The real religion of the world comes from women much more than from men – from mothers most of all, who carry the key of our souls in their bosoms.” ~Oliver Wendell Holmes

“I remember my mother’s prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life.” ~Abraham Lincoln

“You don’t really understand human nature unless you know why a child on a merry-go-round will wave at his parents every time around – and why his parents will always wave back.” ~William D. Tammeus

“Mother, the ribbons of your love are woven around my heart.” ~Author Unknown

“A mom’s hug lasts long after she lets go.” ~Author Unknown

“Who fed me from her gentle breast
And hushed me in her arms to rest,
And on my cheek sweet kisses prest?
My Mother.”
~Ann Taylor

“A mother’s heart is a patchwork of love.” ~Author Unknown

“On Mother’s Day I have written a poem for you. In the interest of poetic economy and truth, I have succeeded in concentrating my deepest feelings and beliefs into two perfectly crafted lines: You’re my mother, I would have no other!” ~Forest Houtenschil

“Mom, when thoughts of you are in our hearts, we are never far from home.” ~Author Unknown

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” ~Washington Irving

“Most mothers are instinctive philosophers.” ~Harriet Beecher Stowe

“Before a day was over,
Home comes the rover,
For mother’s kiss – sweeter this
Than any other thing!”
~William Allingham

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” ~Marcel Proust

“A man’s work is from sun to sun, but a mother’s work is never done.” ~Author Unknown

“Sing out loud in the car even, or especially, if it embarrasses your children.” ~Marilyn Penland

“No language can express the power, and beauty, and heroism, and majesty of a mother’s love. It shrinks not where man cowers, and grows stronger where man faints, and over wastes of worldly fortunes sends the radiance of its quenchless fidelity like a star.” ~Edwin Hubbell Chapin

“The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness.” ~Honoré de Balzac

“Motherhood has a very humanizing effect. Everything gets reduced to essentials.” ~Meryl Streep

“A mother is the truest friend we have, when trials heavy and sudden, fall upon us; when adversity takes the place of prosperity; when friends who rejoice with us in our sunshine desert us; when trouble thickens around us, still will she cling to us, and endeavor by her kind precepts and counsels to dissipate the clouds of darkness, and cause peace to return to our hearts.” ~Washington Irving

Baby Alert 2011: Operation Baby Drop

For those of you keeping tabs on the baby alert, we are still awaiting the arrival of the newest edition to Planet Earth and the 12,418th resident of Hugo, Minnesota.

Mommy and Daddy are spirited, energized (at least as energized as a nine month expecting mother can be) and gitty as a bubble bee on a spring day. Just two days away from the expected day of arrival and business as usual.

Last evening, I joined three close friends who have known each other since high school over an adult dinner that consisted of great food, conversation, diet coke, coffee and not a drop of alcohol to be found. This was quite an instantaneous reminder of maturity as I gazed at the table. What a refreshing evening to share memories with friends who graciously invited me into their circle many years ago and have not looked back.

Almost three years since the last time this group was able to congregate in a similar setting, we slipped back immediately into our comfort zones. As we sat there, talked about high school, vacations, moments of support and the future, it was comforting and nervous to know that within days, all of our lives will change. For some in a small way and for others, a new stage in life from friend, daughter, and wife to Mother.

Through all the many thoughts that ran through our respective heads, it was a very relaxing dinner with enough laughter to cover us for a long time to come.

We all need moments with our closest friends to remind us how important they are even if our interaction has been limited due to life paths we have chosen.

Typically for a nine month pregnant woman, that would be a full Friday evening, but not for this mother to be. We migrated to a small dive bar in South St. Paul for a little blues jam led by the amazing guitar riffs of the grandfather to be. Seeing his daughter smile and clap as her father plays the tunes that have inspired him to perfect his singing and guitar playing skills was an inspirational tribute to family. As we listened and got a shout out for both mom and grand dad, we finally made our way into the night to return home and wait for the newborn to say “Ok, here I come.” When you think of a typical Friday night of dancing, bars, and haplessly juvenile behavior, I was honored to take in the image of three generations sharing in a family moment with the backdrop of blues and rock in the background.

Another sunrise has come and we continue to wait, living our lives as we normally would, but ready for that phone call or text that will bring us all together once again in the comfort of a hospital and leaving with one more person to add to the dinner table.

More to come….

Mother’s Prayer – Original Poem

My belly is growing now
A life is cultivating

I am a mother; the guardian to the heartbeat soon to become my world
I am the shelter from the storm
The fire that lights the soul
The nutrition that fuels the growth

I feed for us
I sleep for us
I bathe for us, but together we dream

I can feel your skin as this fantasy becomes reality
Hold your hands in my thoughts as we build our castle in the clouds

My future belongs to you, my angel
You will begin life’s journey soon and by your side I will be

The stars will light your path to greatness

I am a mother and you are my son