When We Are Dying We Will Embrace The Love Of Those Around Us

It’s a brisk September morning. The chill in the air is minimal, but after a 90 degree day it feels freezing. A few yellow leaves drop to the ground as I walk with my daughter. The kids are back in school so there is much activity. Many dogs accompany their families on the walk, and we see many bike riders pass on the Washington and Old Dominion Trail outside of DC.

It’s mornings like these that I treasure. Walking my children to school, talking and laughing along the way, saying hello to passing friends and neighbors. Life is fleeting, my children are growing so fast, time is so precious.

I come home to a quiet house, the silence is both welcoming and unsettling. I pet our bunny Peanut and hamster Zaychu to remind myself that I am not all alone.

I think for a few moments about death because September 25th will be the one year anniversary of the day I almost died from multiple bilateral pulmonary embolisms. I am so grateful to be alive, but am still haunted by that day. I am still trying to recover both physically and mentally.

I look at the devastation that is going on in Houston, Florida, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, and once again I am reminded of my blessings. I sip my chamomile tea as thousands of people are struggling to find drink, food, shelter and clothing.

We never know when tragedy will strike. We never know when we will require assistance. We never know when our last day will come.

That is something that we all have in common. That is what makes us human.

I remember the tough year I just had, and see the tough times many people in the world are facing, and I feel saddened.

Then I look up from my keyboard and witness the humanity, courage and love that always follow each and every tragedy. Each and every personal loss.

It is like a tide that ebbs and flows throughout our lives. Sometimes we’re up. Sometimes we’re down. But, hopefully we will have loving friends, family and community members around us as we tread carefully through this life.

There are constant reminders of the fragility of life. There are constant reminders of the heroes and helpers who help us pick up the pieces.

They are there without a moment’s notice. They are not there to seek accolades. They are just there to help.

If we all try to be like them, then our world will be a much better place.

When we are dying we will embrace the love of those around us. When we are dying we will think about whether or not we made a difference in other people’s lives. When we are dying we will think could we have done more? Could we have loved more?

The answer is always yes.

We can always do more to make ourselves and others happy. We can always do more to make others smile. We can always do more to help our neighbors who are without food, shelter or healthcare. We can always do more by standing up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.

One year ago I almost died.

This anniversary means so much to me. I will raise a glass to old friends and new. I will hug my family and celebrate that I’m still here. I will try my best to appreciate each new day that I’m given. I will try my best to help others however and whenever I can.

I will think about what will happen when I die a little more often now after surviving my blood clots.

When I die, I know it will be with a clear conscience and a full heart. But that time is not now.

Now, it’s time to live.

 

 

 

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An Open Letter to Senator John McCain

Senator McCain,

You are an American hero. You have dedicated your life to serving our great country and I thank you. You have gone through things many of us could never imagine, and have prevailed. You are going through a health crisis right now which I hope and pray you will fully recover from.

So I know you understand what it means to be sick, to suffer and to fight back. Just like millions of Americans are doing right at this moment. I know you understand what it means to pray for your children when they are ill, and to look into their eyes and tell them that they will get better, because they know you will do everything possible to make sure that they will.

A parent loves their children more than they love themselves. From the moment we first look into their eyes, they are forever a part of us. They are forever a part of our hearts.

So it is no surprise that every time they get a cut or scrape we are there to bandage them up. When they have a mystery illness, we take them to as many doctors as we can, until a treatment is found.

When they fall, we help to pick them up off the ground. That’s what good parents do.

I am writing to you as a parent, as a chronically ill person, and as an American. I am writing to you to ask you to please show the courage and maverick spirit you are known for and vote no to the Graham-Cassidy bill or any version of Trumpcare. Please work together with other Senators to improve The Affordable Care Act which is helping millions of people and families like mine get the treatment they need, without going bankrupt, or being dropped from coverage because of our many preexisting conditions. Most Americans want this to happen. Please help lead the way.

We never know what tomorrow will bring. We hope for good health and happiness, but face many bumps on the road. A year ago, almost to the day, I almost died. It was shocking, unexpected, traumatic and life-changing. I was diagnosed with multiple bilateral pulmonary embolisms. Because of our health insurance, I was able to go to the ER where they found my blood clots. I received excellent care as I was in the hospital for 3 days. They saved my life. My children still have a mom because of them, and because of protections of The Affordable Health Care Act. I was able to continue my care with a board certified hematologist who took good care of me,  and gave me blood-thinners and blood tests which helped to heal me. My recovery took a long time but now I am able to walk my kids to school, and watch them grow into loving, caring people thanks to Senators like you, Murkowsi, Collins and the Democrats who said no to Trumpcare.

My son suffers from life-threatening food allergies, asthma and recurrent croup. He frequently goes to doctors and specialists who help to keep him healthy and alive. He has been to the ER many times. He is still here thanks to his healthcare, his doctors and Senators like you who did not let him down. When you look at your 4 year old son who is turning blue and struggling to breathe a few times you change. You become frightened, you educate yourself, and you become his advocate. You fight to make sure that your families’ healthcare is not taken away due to many preexisting conditions or other issues. You do not want to become bankrupt just to keep your family alive. You shouldn’t have to.

I’m advocating for him, my whole family and many Americans right now who desperately need you to do the right thing once again. Please hear the millions of voices calling out to you.

I will never forget the sight of you giving a thumbs down to Trumpcare on July 28, 2017. It was a spectacular sight. I was so proud of you at that moment. You didn’t let us down. Millions of us were able to breathe a collective sigh of relief. I will tell my children about you and what you did that night. I will show them the clips and news stories, and how you and your colleagues saved our family and many others.

When a nation falls, we help to pick people up from the ground. That’s what good Senators do.

Thank you for being one of them. Please help us once again to maintain our dignity as we fight to heal ourselves and our children. Please vote no to the Graham-Cassidy bill or any other versions of it.

Sickness, disabilities and getting good healthcare are like a personal battlefield. Please show us your courage once more. Please lead the fight and help us all prevail. Our future is literally in your hopefully thumbs down hands.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,

Kathy Soppet

 

 

 

 

My Game of Thrones Playlist to Get Me Through the Tough Days

I have just been through a year that had me shouting “seven hells” many times. My seven hells this year were PMDD, multiple pulmonary embolisms, anxiety, panic attacks, menopause, lyme disease and interstitial cystitis.

Game of Thrones, and other shows like it have helped keep me occupied and distracted through the pain and heartache that often accompanies chronic illness. I wrote an article about it last year. 

I am incredibly grateful to have made it through this year. I am still struggling and fighting, but am much better than last year. Tonight is the premiere of Game of Thrones and I can’t wait to watch it. Partly because I have been waiting a year and a half for the new season, and partly because it is a reminder that I made it through, I survived.

This morning while making pancakes for my family, it seemed like every song was reminding me of Game of Thrones. Some songs made me laugh, some made me think of certain GOT characters, and others made me feel excited and happy. So happy that I danced in my kitchen for the first time in over a year. I hope you enjoy my playlist, and I hope you dance too.

Here is my Game of Thrones playlist:

1. Another One Bites the Dust by Queen – who will bite the dust this season?
2. Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison – last season Margaery and Loris Tyrell were killed by Cersei. I’m sure that their grandmother Olenna will be all thorns this season.
3. Born to be Wild by Steppenwolf – The Wildlings are a huge part of GOT and will have a great role to play this season too as many battle will take place.
4. Back to Black by Amy Winehouse – Jon’s watch has ended and he won’t go back to black, but I’m sure the Night’s Watch will be by his side as they fight the Night King and his army of wights.
5. Pride by U2- this important song was of course written about MLK Jr., but it briefly made me think of the fictional character Ned Stark, who lived his life with honor and pride, and who many still fight for in the name of love.
6. The Rains of Castamere by The National- who could forget the Red Wedding or this amazing/haunting song. What will the Lannisters be up to this season? How many of us souls long to see/hear what they will do?
7. Burden In My Hand by Soundgarden – this song reminds me of Tyrion. He is now hand of the Queen, how will he handle this honor and burden? Will he rise to the occasion once they reach the sands of Dragonstone, or will he drown in alcohol and fall to pieces once again?
8. Dire Wolf by The Grateful Dead – Will Ghost return? Will Arya be reunited with Nymeria? Which sinners and bad guys will the Stark wolves attack? Many have it coming to them.
9. Hound Dog by Elvis Presley – He isn’t high class, but I’m so glad the Hound is back! He prefers chicken to rabbits and has been a secret friend of the Starks. F*ck the king, let’s see what he does this season!
10. Witchy Woman by The Eagles – Cersei was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and now she has suffered the witches prophecy. Gold are now her children’s shrouds, will her little brother now choke her to death? We shall see.
11. Ain’t No Mountain High Enough by Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – Nothing will stop The Mountain from protecting Cersei, not the Trident river or the Vale of Arryn, and nothing will stop me from watching the Cleganebowl if it happens this season!
12. Smoke On The Water by Deep Purple – this song reminds me of the Greyjoys since Pyke is always misty and smoky looking. It also reminds me of The Battle of Blackwater, and other battles to come. What will be Theon and Yara’s fate? What great battles on the sea lie ahead?
13. Something Wild by Lindsey Stirling – Dany has a big heart and has become wild and powerful, and she is being called home. While her dragons chase the sky, the lights are blinding and her quest is binding. Her maps and battle lines are drawn, will she prevail and ultimately sit on the throne?
14. Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd – I’m on Team Stark and Jon Snow is my favorite. He may be a simple man but he has learned something, and does not live for rich mans gold. He follows his heart and knows what’s in his soul. I hope it leads him to great things and happiness.

This past year I said not today to the god of death many times. I hope you say not today too, and I hope he listens.

Winter is here. Let’s all hope it’s not a long one.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Thank You to the Friends Who Met Me After Chronic Illness

To the friends who have met me after chronic illness,

You may have met me through my kids. You may have met me in the neighborhood. But that doesn’t matter, what matters is that you met me after I became chronically ill- but you still chose to become my friend.

You weren’t put off by my disheveled looks, my wrinkled clothes, my messy house, my tired eyes, my seldom seen smiles. You didn’t judge me, look at me strangely or differently, or walk away.

You gave me a chance because you are a special person. One who can see beyond appearances and chaos, and focus on what is important.

People. Helping others. Being a good person and friend.

You met me after Lyme Disease and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder took over part of my brain and made me more anxious, confused and irritable. You met me after I was recovering from surgery and going through surgical menopause. You still supported me after I learned that I had multiple pulmonary embolisms, and didn’t know whether or not I would survive. You met me when I could barely take care of my children, let alone myself.

But, you still stuck around. You still gave me a chance. You still cared no matter what.

You didn’t stop coming around when I could not even make it to the door because I was too anxious to answer it. You didn’t stop calling or texting me to see if I needed anything, even though I could never return the favor. You didn’t stop asking me to do things even though you knew that I couldn’t for quite awhile.

You helped get my young son to school each and every day so that he wouldn’t miss out on anything. You made sure he was safe and well cared for. You made sure he had fun whenever he was with you and your children. You made sure my eleven year old daughter was also okay and had what she needed to get through the many crises we faced these past 2 years.

You never complained, you were just there. Right where I needed you, right when I needed you. You never asked for anything in return.

THAT is the definition of a true friend. Helping and caring for someone and being there without any expectations or desire for a reward or returned favor. That is the definition of you.

You are selfless. You are a wonderful person. You are just what I needed, but never thought I’d find again due to my maladies.

I am very lucky that I have a great husband who helps me with everything. But it is also nice to have some good friends. Friends like you. To laugh with, to spend time with, to grow with, to become better people with.

I had almost given up hope that I would find good friends in my new home state. After my many ailments, I thought it would be impossible.

But there you were, walking slowly but surely by my side. Maybe you saw a glimmer in my eye of what I once was- active, funny and spontaneous. Maybe you got brief hints of what my personality truly is, when free from the constraints of pain and sickness.

In a world where many people are focused upon material things and influential people, you choose not to be. You can see past all of that, and get right to the heart of the matter. You were able to see what was in my heart.

I can’t begin to tell you how much you mean to me, and to my family. I can’t begin to thank you enough for how you have helped me, and for how you have accepted me and all of my limitations.

Having you around has brought some newfound joy to my life. Having you around has helped me recover. Having you around has helped me smile again.

A lot of people in their forties have to deal with at least one chronic illness. They are lucky if they have good friends around to help them adjust and get through it. But, making new friends when you have more than one debilitating condition is very difficult. It can be a very lonely time. Online support groups can be very helpful, but nothing takes the place of a nearby friend. One who is there to listen, commiserate with and to give you a hug when you need it the most.

Thank you for being my friend. I know that it can be hard sometimes because of all I am dealing with, but hopefully better health and good times are just around the corner. I look forward to sharing those times with you.

And as I struggle to fall asleep tonight, I will have a smile on my face because I know that kind people like you exist in this world.

You are just what the doctor ordered.

Poetologie ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Father is…

A father is a cushion to lay my head,

when things seem dark and dreary;

A father carries me up to bed,

when I’ve grown very weary.

 

A father reads me a bedtime story,

and hugs me when I’m scared;

a father is one who is by my side,

and who always seems to care.

 

He is there to close my window,

and to sing an old Irish tune;

he is there to let me know,

that I am his stars and moon.

 

 

A father lives, a father gives,

me all the love he possibly can;

he is silly, he is my joy

he is my favorite man.

 

A father is there to life me up

each time I inevitably fall;

A father rushes into the room,

each time his name I call.

 

A father is the one I love,

a father is my best friend;

he will always be in my heart,

on that he can depend.

 

So thank you sweet darling Dad,

for all you’ve done for me;

my love for you is greater than,

all the stars in the sky you see.

 

Poetologie ❤

 

 

Don’t Lose Touch with Your Good Friends

 

This weekend I heard the most awful news. A good friend of mine, who I lost touch with, is very ill with brain cancer. She has a wonderful husband and three young kids. My heart goes out to all of them now.

I haven’t spoken to her in years, I don’t have her new contact information, and I am heartbroken.

I am also wracked with guilt. I have not been a good friend. I let our relationship drift away, just like the evening tide.

It is so easy to stay in touch nowadays, especially with Facebook and text messaging. But since I made the big move from New York City to Virginia, I have been overwhelmed and chronically ill. I let my busy, messy life drown out my most important friendships. Friends that I have know since I was 17.

I am now 47 and full of regret. I am writing this story so that you don’t have to be.

I met my friend when I was 17. She went to high school with my best friend in college. She came up to visit us at SUNY Plattsburgh many times. She was always so much fun, I always looked forward to her visits. We would drink and dance at the bars, we would sing the words to Paradise City and Shower the People.

I have tears in my eyes as I recall these memories, if I could only show her the way that I feel right now.

She helped me explore my wild side, she helped me laugh when times were rough, she helped me deal with my anxiety, she always knew which diner I could go to for eggs at 3:00 in the morning.

After college she showed me the beauty of New York City. Though I grew up there, she made me appreciate it so much more. She absolutely loves the Upper West Side, and let me stay with her while I looked for a job. She always knew the best restaurants, museums and bars to go to. She took me to the opera at Lincoln Center, she went to concerts with me at Madison Square Garden, she gave me culture, she showed me how to enjoy life.

She is adventurous and loves to travel. She taught me to Rollerblade by renting me blades, and throwing me into the fire of the great Central Park Loop. She smiled and said “you can do it,” as I desperately tried not to fall, zooming down a big hill trying to avoid moms and their baby carriages. Unbelievably, I did not fall, but if I did she would be there to pick me up, just like she always did.

She is a true friend, one you rarely find. She taught me how to live, love and survive in the big city. She helped me heal after a broken relationship, and helped me celebrate at my happy wedding brunch. She sent me awesome gifts after the birth of my two children.

I remember her most hanging with me at the Bear Bar in the city, drinking bear juice, and dancing on the bar to George Michael’s Freedom. We sang “I won’t let you down” at the top of our lungs. Little did I know that I would eventually let her down.

I was there for many of her birthdays, I was there at her beautiful wedding at West Point.

I only wish I was there for her now.

I wish I had kept in touch, I wish I had sent her many cards, I wish I could talk to her now to tell her how much I love her, and how much she means to me.

But I may never get that chance, and I will regret it for the rest of my life. Please learn from my mistakes. Please let those you love- especially old friends, know how much they mean to you right now. Don’t put it off.

There was this big white dog that lived in our building on East 74th Street in Manhattan, who I called the Abominable Snow Dog. At first I feared him, but then I loved him, especially when I had a few beers in me. Do not fear what you do not know, do not be afraid to share your joy and love with others.

That’s what my good friend taught me. I am so lucky to have spent so much time with her when I was younger. I am so blessed to know her and her bountiful spirit.

Friends are so special. And whether you have one good friend or many, never take them for granted. Always put effort into these friendships, always keep in touch.

Be there for the many ups and downs of life, never let a giant wave of laziness, bitterness or distance wash away a great friendship.

My friend has the voice of an Angel, and when she sings Ave Maria she could make the most hardened soul cry.

“My lost soul turns to you, and full of repentment, humbles at your feet.”

I am so sorry that my friend is so ill. I would give anything to be able to help her. I will try to let her know. I just found out her new address and sent her flowers, I hope that she gets them. I hope they make her smile.

She is a bright light in a storm, the laughter in a dull sea, and an amazing youthful memory.

James Taylor wrote that love is sunshine. I am so grateful for all of the sunshine my friend brought to my life.

And as I sit here praying like I’ve never prayed before for my friend and her family, I will hope that she knows how much she means to all of her friends, old and new. Life in the big city would not have been the same without her. My life would not have been the same without her.

I hope that she is surrounded by the same sunshine and love that she gave to everyone she knew.

I hope she knows that her light will never diminish, and the memories will never fade away.

Do I love my friend? Would I go back and do things differently if I could?

Absofreakinlutely..

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

 

 

 

 

An Open Thank You Letter To Mick Jagger

Mr. Jagger,

I’ve just read the news of Gregg Allman’s death. He was 69 years old. I’m pretty sure you knew him, especially through your association with Chuck Leavell, so I’d like to say that I’m sorry for your loss.

His passing made me immediately think of you. Though you are my favorite musician/performer of all time, I have never written you a fan letter to let you know how much you and your music has meant to me.

I truly believe that if someone has affected your life in a positive way or has meant something to you, that you should always let them know. Life is too short to hold in our feelings or praise. Hearing of the passing of your good friend David Bowie, of Glenn Frey and of Chris Cornell has made this task more urgent. I wouldn’t want to ever regret not telling you how I feel, I would never want you to wonder if you ever truly made a difference in a fan’s life.

I’m here to tell you that you have.

I have no connection to you other than through your music. I am not your greatest fan. I have never met you. I have only seen The Rolling Stones tour twice, due to budget constraints and then illness. But for 47 years your music has been a constant in my life. It has been a warm blanket when my life was painted black. It has seen me through tough high school years, wild times at college, divorce, marriage, miscarriages, birth and chronic illness. It is the one thing I have always been able to count on, it is the soundtrack of my life.

Your soulful voice and lyrics, whether from The Stones or your solo work, is as real as it gets. It’s also as good as it gets. Life is not a top 40 dance-able track. It takes us to many dark places, and through many difficult winding paths. From Staten Island, New York to sweet Virginia, you have laid the foundation and follow me wherever I go.

I am lucky to not be waiting on a friend anymore, for I have found a great partner in my husband. His thick wispy longish brown hair, slender figure, and beautiful blue eyes are reminiscent of you, my first man crush.

I can always hear your voice echo in the distance, from the realization that wild horses couldn’t drag me away from my one true love, to the joy of my children’s birth, to sitting and watching life’s tragedies as tears go by. Your music has played through it all.

Whenever I succeeded, or whenever I fell – you were always there. From eight-tracks, to albums, to CD’s, to Pandora, you help comfort and lift me up like no other performer. When I walk in Central Park, to when I seem like I’m 2000 Light Years from Home due to my persistent anxiety, you remain my companion. You help me drift away and get lost in a sea of melodies that soothe my often aching body and soul.

Though I know that you will probably never see this letter, it makes me feel good to write it. I think that we should all do good things and thank many people with no expectations. Some girls really know you, some girls really love you, this girl really appreciates you and the way your music makes me feel. Joyful, unburdened, free, passionate and alive. I will always be a wild teenager when I hear Start Me Up, tell no lies when I walk through a field of Dandelions, and when time is not on my side, I will sit and watch my children doing all the things I used to do with a smile.

Seeing you and The Stones was and always will be one of my favorite memories. I will never forget the anticipation I felt as we drove from Plattsburgh, NY to Shea Stadium back in 89′. I will never forget the butterflies I felt as you approached the stage. I will never forget the adrenaline I felt as your face was projected on the big stadium screens. I will never forget the happiness I felt hearing you sing live.

You will never be just a memory to me. You will always be a talented man who enhanced my life, and made me realize my love of music. Your voice and songs will always be a part of me, and I hope a part of my children.

I want you to know how much you have meant to me, how much you still mean to me. You have helped me get through many tough times, you helped me dance in the street.

I hope that you live many more happy years just like your father Joe. I hope that you are surrounded by the love of your beautiful children, and that you never run out of time to keep showing them how much you care.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you have given to me and to the world.

Thank you for helping me realize that though God may not have given me everything I want, he gave me everything I need.

Sincerely,

Kathy, a girl with a mind and a blog of her own

The Messiness of Life

This morning while I was cooking bacon, I heard my son shout “Mama, I wiped my own hiney!” This immediately set off alarm bells, and sent me into panic mode, because I haven’t finished training my son how to do this task. Due to years of battling life-threatening illnesses, I am just now teaching him this skill that he should have mastered years ago.

I left the comfort of the kitchen, where the aroma of bacon, and the sounds of Stevie Nicks filled the air. I entered the bathroom where a landslide of shit was everywhere!

I didn’t know where to start. My son held up his poop ridden hands and proudly smiled and said “I did it all by myself.” The half of me that’s in surgical menopause wanted to yell “why didn’t you call me to help you?” The other half of me wanted to burst out laughing. I settled for somewhere in the middle.

As I was cleaning him and the bathroom, I thought life sure is messy.

When you have children you face years of cleaning up poop, puke and pee. It doesn’t end after the toddler years, for many stomach viruses and bouts of the flu await. There are many untidy rooms, dirty dishes, and piles of laundry to contend with.

When you are pregnant no one tells you this. No one tells you that you will spend countless hours scrubbing stains, tiles and tushes. You will perform many thankless tasks and sometimes feel really pissed off about it, and that’s okay. You have permission to be angry, and to commiserate with your friends.

I realized as I was sanitizing poop kingdom that I was truly blessed. I have two wonderful kids to clean up after. Kids who come to me when they need help and tender loving care. Kids whose eyes light up when they see me. Kids who look up to me, and who depend upon me to teach them the skills necessary to succeed in life. Kids whom I adore, poop and all.

When I was finished with the purging of the poop, I replayed ‘Landslide.’ I listened to Stevie sing ‘you climb a mountain, and you turn around.’

I think of how I will clean a mountain of my children’s filth and then turn around- and someday it will all be gone.

My kids will move out of my house and move on. They will take their messes, and my heart with them.

And I will be left reminiscing, and longing for the days of poop, puke and pee for the rest of my life.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Nothing’s Gonna Change Our World…Unless We Do

‘I read the news today…oh boy’ – Manchester looks like its been at war.  ‘A crowd of people stood and stared,’ they’d seen terrorism before. Beatles lyrics are currently racing around my head, music is my comfort today.

Twenty-two people killed, including children as young as eight years old. More than fifty injured. The distressing news just keeps coming. It’s getting so hard to hide my sadness and tears from my children.

How do I protect them from the news? How do I protect them from this increasingly dangerous world?

Images of the Newtown tragedy flash through my brain, as I see a mother cry for her missing daughter. People/children were once again going about their day. People/children were once again murdered.

With no warning. With no reason. With no emotion.

They are now gone. Their families are still trying to find them or find out if they are among the victims. Their families all have our sympathy, our thoughts, and our hearts. We hug our own children safe in the knowledge that they are okay today.

But what about tomorrow?

What new tragedies await all of us?

Today a bridge of pain connects us to Manchester, just like many bridges before. This pain seems unending in recent years. This pain is heartbreaking.

I wish it would stop.

I tell my anxious daughter a few details of the bombing, because I know that she will find out about it at school. I want her to hear my words first. I want her to see my face when I say this is a horrible tragedy, but this is far away, it will not directly affect you.

I never spoke to her about how I was in New York City on 9/11. How I walked for miles among traumatized ashen people. I never told her that her Aunt lost her best friend in the bombing of Pan Am 103, and worked in Tower One of the World Trade Center. I never told her how close to home tragedy has struck. But I have said those words of comfort to her before, about Newtown and a few other tragedies, because I needed to calm her fears.

My words which usually speak passionate truths were carefully edited, carefully cooled down to help her deal with the news. To help her deal with the fact that the safe little world in which she currently exists is shrinking. With each bomb blast, shooting or death from cold hands she will be unwound. Her idea of safety is slowly being liquidated to pay off the debt of her survival. Her artistic brush is forced to paint a picture of a world in frequent mourning, over mornings such as these.

When I was younger I frequently watched the news with my mom. I am not able to do this with my daughter, for it is too often filled with tragic headlines and scary events.

So instead I shield her from as much devastation as I can, surround her with love and comfortable things, and pray she will gain the strength to get through such difficult times.

I let her see me write blogs and poetry often, I tell her that getting out our emotions in a positive way is a blessing and a necessity. She hears the tap tap of the keyboard and the click click of the mouse as I pour out my feelings. I hope she always remembers these sounds. The sounds of subsistence, the sounds that help me get through my toughest times.

I am glad that she has her art to ease her mind. I hope that it always does. I hope that the stroke of her paintbrush can help her survive, thrive and put some color into this often gloomy world.

I often tell her that we should always help others when we are able to. That so many people need assistance, and that there is nothing wrong with asking for it. I tell her that it’s okay to pause her world in order to help someone in need.

After tragedies I feel helpless, sorrowful and weak. I wonder what kind of world we are leaving our children. But watching the kindness of strangers, bystanders and everyday heroes always lifts me up. These people make it possible to see the light in the darkness, the way through the pain.

I want to be one of these people. I am trying to teach my children to be like these people. The light-bringers, the change-makers, the bastions of hope. People who see others as equals and worthy of compassion. People who feel it is our duty as citizens to help lift others up, because they know we will all fall down at some point in our lives.

Manchester needs us now. The world needs us now. We must take a long look in the mirror of truth, and put an end to our apathy. I have been looking in this mirror for years, I am ready to make a difference. I realize that it all starts with me.

And as the tears flow from the sights and sounds of a city that’s an hours train ride from Liverpool, I know that nothing’s gonna change our world – unless we do.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

 

There’s No Place Like a Food Allergy Community

The week of May 14th – May 20th is Food Allergy Awareness Week. There is no better week to express my thanks to the food allergy community and all the wonderful people who support them/us. Please help me by sharing this letter with anyone you know who has food allergies, or with anyone who has helped you in your food allergy journey. Let’s spread thanks, let’s spread awareness:

To all involved in the food allergy community:

I discovered that I had life-threatening food allergies after eating a huge plate of shrimp scampi. I was 28 and had eaten shellfish my whole life. Until this point, I was fine. Then I wasn’t. I haven’t eaten shellfish since.

Despite all of this, I did not become a full-fledged, all-in, member of your community until my 4 year old son reacted after eating pecan brownies. I knew a little about food allergies and…

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