The Little Things - September 2021
by Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW
“Let’s roll” are familiar words that were made famous by Todd Beamer on 9-11-2001. His “Let’s roll” on that fateful day set a plan in action that diverted hijacked Flight 93 to a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, here it crashed, after other planes had been flown into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Before the plane went down, Beamer managed to get a phone call out to a lady named Lisa Jefferson. He told her that he and several of the passengers had made plans to try to take back control of their hijacked plane by jumping on the hijackers and flying the plane into the ground. He told Jefferson, "If I don't make it, please call my family and let them know how much I love them."
Beamer, a devout Christian, recited the Lord's Prayer and the 23rd Psalm with Jefferson, prompting others to join in. After that, Jefferson heard muffled voices and Beamer clearly answering, "Are you ready? Okay. Let's roll!"—Todd’s
last words before flight 93 with 44 people plunged to their deaths.
Todd, 32, had been married to his wife Lisa for 10 years. They had two sons, ages 3 and 1, and a baby daughter was born the next January. Through Beamer and other passengers’ heroic actions, many lives were probably saved, since the intended target for Flight 93 may have been the White House or Capitol in Washington, D.C.
In 2002, Todd’s wife Lisa wrote a book entitled Let’s Roll! Ordinary People, Extraordinary Courage. When she spoke on “Good Morning America” about Todd,” she said that one little thing she missed about Todd was hearing the garage door open as he came home and her children running to meet him. Here are more of Lisa’s thoughts about “little things.”
I had a very special teacher in high school many years ago whose husband died suddenly of a heart attack. About a week after his death, she shared some of her insight with a classroom of students. As the late afternoon sunlight came streaming through the classroom windows and the class was nearly over, she moved a few things aside on the edge of her desk and sat down there. With a gentle look of reflection on her face, she paused and said, “Class is over, but I would like to share with all of you a thought that is unrelated to class, something which I feel is very important. Each of us is put here on earth to learn, share, love, appreciate, and give of ourselves. None of us knows when this fantastic experience will end. It can be taken away at any moment. Perhaps this is God’s way of telling us we must make the most out of every single day."
With her eyes beginning to water, she went on. "So I would like you all to make me a promise. From now on, on your way to school or on your way home, find something beautiful to notice. It doesn’t have to be something you see. It could be a scent, perhaps of freshly baked bread . . . or it could be the sound of the breeze slightly rustling the leaves in a tree, or the way the morning light catches one autumn leaf as it falls gently to the ground. Please look for those things and cherish them. For although it may sound trite to some, these things are the ‘stuff’ of life. The little things we are put here on earth to enjoy. The things we often take for granted."
The class was completely quiet. We all picked up our books and filed out of the room silently. That afternoon I noticed more things on my way home from school than I had that whole semester. Every once in a while I think of that teacher and remember what an impression she made on all of us, and I try to appreciate all those things that we sometimes overlook. Take notice of something special you see on your lunch hour…. Go barefoot. Or walk on the beach at sunset. Stop off on the way home tonight to get a double-dip ice cream cone. For as we get older, it is not the things we did that we often regret, but the things we didn’t do.
If someone you love has died, you probably miss the “little things” about them the most. So hopefully you are taking time to notice more “little things” every day. A colorful leaf. A song. A call from a friend. A juicy peach. Birds getting ready to fly. The voice of a grandchild.
The simplest “little things” may have left you with the most wonderful memories of your loved one. And “little things” can also help your heart heal from your loss. So pause. Look around. Listen. Experience. Like Lisa Beamer, “little things” can sometimes leave you with the best memories.
Call about the next "Living Life after Loss" Group at:
709 Liberty, Clay Center, Kansas
Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW, Group Facilitator