“I Meditate Every Morning About How I Can Make the World a Better Place.”
Ann Douglas | 68 | Bear Island, Meredith, New Hampshire
Her son, Frederick John Cox, 27, an associate at the investment-banking firm Sandler O’Neill + Partners, died in the collapse of the World Trade Center’s Tower Two.
As the sun rises and lights up Lake Winnipesaukee right outside my house, I do a meditation to honor my son as well as all the 9/11 victims and their families. I often look out my bedroom window toward the giant hemlock where Freddy hung a swing as a boy. It’s still there, alongside a hammock he put up in his 20s and a plaque he hammered to the trunk that reads, “Do what you love, love what you do.” That was Freddy’s mantra. And it has become mine, too.
I’m retired now, but I started meditating in my 40s, while I was still working as a teacher. The practice meant more to me, however, after Freddy died. It quieted my mind and helped me heal the hole in my heart. I also started a foundation in my son’s memory called Betta Place Inc. (bettaplaceinc.org), which promotes quiet time and conflict resolution for children. I believe that if we can teach kids to think happy, peaceful thoughts, the world will improve.
Freddy always celebrated the moment: He was a loving man to me, his father, his stepfather, and his two older sisters. For Mother’s Day in 2001, he gave me a heart-shaped Tiffany key chain engraved MOM + FREDDY and a note that said, “Mother darling, to the most wonderful person in my life. I love you.” When I look at Freddy’s swing and hammock, it makes me feel connected to his spirit, which I believe is still with us. I see it everywhere. Recently I saw a black butterfly with yellow markings that looked like a smile—as always, I thought of him.