“Michael Edward Roberts”
555 Fitness Hero WOD
- For Time
- 100 Squat Cleans (75/55 lb)
- 4 Burpees
Perform 4 burpees every minute on the minute until you finish the 100 squat cleans.
They are one in their grief, but the three members of Firefighter Michael Edward Roberts’s family mourn in their own way. John Roberts, the tight-lipped father, keeps a replica of his son’s shield, No. 6611, with him. It is a familiar touchstone, one he bore when he was a New York City firefighter. Now it embodies the spirit of his son, who wanted more than anything else to follow him into the firehouse.
Michael Edward’s younger sister, Karen, deals with the pain of living up to her brother’s high expectations for her, higher than it sometimes seems possible to reach while remembering that she will never hear his voice again. His mother, Veronica, is the one who is compelled to wear her grief most openly, in part to ensure that his name is recalled and not confused with another young firefighter from Pearl River with exactly the same name, who also died on 9/11.
For five years, she has attended Little League dinners to present the same award for character that her Michael once won. She reached out across the Atlantic to a firehouse in Cork, Ireland, that has adopted Michael’s memory as its own.
And then there is her garden, and the Irish roses she planted in Michael’s memory. It’s there, in the front yard of her Breezy Point bungalow, where she sees it every day. It has nine sides, and it is 11 wooden panels high. Inside are the roses Michael once told her she should plant. Michael’s rose bush — the orange one — is the first thing she looks at in the morning, and sometimes she cries.
John, the stoic one, once told her to stop. “Ronnie,” he said, “it is what it is.” That night, she took a piece of oak tag paper and wrote: “it is what it is.”
“That was a turning point,” Mrs. Roberts said. “When I can’t deal, that paper’s what I hold on to.”