Friday, March 20, 2009

Denise Amber Lee Foundation goes to Washington DC (part two)

Okay, where did I leave off? Sorry about that. I was so tired from the trip I simply couldn't stay awake enough to write last night :o)

So, we visited with Chris and Emily and shared many giggles. Chris brought some old photos of me that were hysterically funny. And! An old letter my brother Danny wrote to me back in 1981. Crap. I'm tearing up again.

One of our priorities was to see my niece Mary. She's been confined to best rest for the remainder of her pregnancy. I remember being confined to bed rest when I had Nathan:o( Not fun at all. Very boring and can be very lonely. Actually Mary was the first person I wanted to see getting off the plane but we had an old phone number and no Internet access. Fortunately we did get in touch with her and drove down to see her on our way to dinner. I HATED leaving her behind while we all went to dinner. It just didn't seem right leaving her behind. But, this pregnancy is important to her and indeed all of us. So, she's doing what she has to do. If you're reading this, Mary, I love you.

Off to dinner........... I sat next to my sister Ann and as I mentioned in my last post she had me laughing in the aisles! We swapped "naughty" jokes and had a fantastic time. It was so pleasant to just sit, relax and be myself. I couldn't believe I was able to still laugh that much. To see Nathan actually belly laughing. We were so tired from the trip I actually think we were giddy.

Alas, the evening ended way to soon for any of us but we all had driving to do and I know Ann was anxious to get back to Mary. Chris had to drive Emily back to Philadelphia. Emily had to be at work for an early shift at 6:30AM the next day....... sigh.

Emily is so sweet. And I'm not bragging when I say that I don't think I have a single niece or nephew that isn't sweet.

We collapsed back at the room knowing we had to be in DC early the next day. None of us were sure of where we were going. We decided to use the Metro.

NENA and the Center for Missing and Exploited Children and our Maryland contingent

Nathan, Mark and Sean (Lowery) met with the head of NENA. (National Emergency Number Association). That meeting went extremely well and I believe they want Nathan's help in drafting legislation for mandatory 9-1-1 training nationally. How cool is that? I don't know any of the specifics and will wait for our plans and goals to be posted on the Denise Amber Lee website. Everything is still in the works. But it's awesome to know how Nathan and the foundation have been accepted and encouraged.

The next day (Wednesday) we got a very late start. We slept much later than we should have and were trying to figure out how we could make time to meet our Maryland contingent. Two wonderful women from Maryland got in touch with the foundation early on asking how they could help. They were so moved by Denise's bravery and story that they wrote to their local senator inquiring about 9-1-1 training standards in Maryland. They had no clue that our family is originally from Baltimore........ We couldn't believe it. It's just strange how things work out. Anyhow, we were able to meet them for lunch on Wednesday before going back into DC to meet with the Center of Missing and Exploited Children.

Throughout this journey we have seen true evil. But the goodness in people such as Angie, Katie, the 9-1-1 industry people across the country, our family, friends and our neighbors has totally trumped any evil.

Aside here to Angie and Katie if you're reading this: NO! I haven't seen the boys yet but I'll see them tonight. We plan on bowling in the backyard:o)

After that it was back on the Metro so Nathan, Mark and Sean could meet with a gentleman from the Center for Missing and Exploited Children in Old Town Alexandria, VA. Again, I don't want to go into detail but he was very generous with their representative's knowledge, compassion and advice on what we're doing and where to go from here was invaluable. He was extremely supportive and gave us a lot of food for thought and much much encouragement.

I didn't know until I read his book "Tears of Rage" that John and Reve Walsh (Adam Walsh's parents) also lost their home after they lost Adam. It seems we're not unique at all. And that most homicide survivors have financial difficulties. Thinking straight, making good decisions, being able to make any decision at all and working are just......... I don't know how to describe it but I'm going to wait and describe it in the other blog where it belongs.

Suffice to say, we don't need to re-invent the wheel and we do plan on making a difference.

Aside to Denise: I love you, sweetheart........ Miss you. And we're working hard. I miss the boys very much and plan on seeing them tonight. Last night was their night with their Daddy:o)