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

 

Two Paths Toward 9/11 and Beyond

Death knocked on the door this morning,

cold hands crumbled smoldering towers of steel,

as the candles were extinguished by bitter breath,

sorrowful clouds permeated blue skies this morning,

hopes and dreams shattered by windows of pain.

 

In 1992 after graduating college, I went to a headhunter in Manhattan. She sent me out for two job interviews that week. The first one was in Tower One of the World Trade Center. I cannot recall which floor it was on, but can recall my nervousness as I approached the beautiful Twin Towers. They framed the city for me. I grew up in Staten Island and I always got so excited whenever I saw them from the Staten Island Ferry, or from any direction. They showed me which way to go many times. They will always mean so much to me. They were a part of my childhood, they were romantic, and they were the setting for many television and movie scenes. But they were not to be the location of my demise, for I was sent on a different path. My second job interview was in Midtown Manhattan. I received a job offer right away after that one and I took it. I worked at that job as an administrative assistant until 2002.

Around the same time my husband, who I didn’t meet until 2004, was faced with a big decision. Should he take the test to become a New York City Fireman, or should he try to enroll in Nursing School. Both would have been excellent choices, and both would offer rewarding careers. One of his best friends at the time chose to take the test and wait to be called to service. They had many discussions about it. My husband ultimately chose to enter St. Vincent’s Nursing School on Staten Island instead after a few years and much thought. He is here today. His brave and heroic friend from Engine Co. 10 is not. My husband chose a path of saving lives by being a nurse, and his friend also chose a path of saving lives, and lost his in the process. His friend was a hero before September 11th and an even bigger one after. He thinks of him often and always remembers his humor, bravery and love for the FDNY. He also thinks of what may have happened if he chose the same path and was at the World Trade Center that fateful day.

I had two possible paths toward a career and chose the one not located in Tower One. My husband chose to be a registered nurse instead of a member of the FDNY who lost 343 souls that day.

Our paths eventually led us to each other. We talked about September 11th soon after we met. We were both from Staten Island and the subject of the tragedy comes up often. Everyone was either there or knew somebody who was. Two hundred seventy five people with ties to Staten Island perished. Almost everyone you knew lost a relative, a neighbor or a friend. My husband told me about his great loss of a very good friend and person. I told him of neighbors and acquaintances I knew who lost their lives, and of my sister’s luck in being late for work that day. She worked in Tower One. I told him of the difficulty of that day, being all alone in Midtown, walking home to my apartment on the Upper East Side among many ashen people. People who I did not know, but whose faces I will never forget.

There are street signs and many other honors for the victims lost from Staten Island. Every time I visit there, I imagine the footsteps of my neighbor’s brother, and those lost from The South Shore Swim Club which I was a member of and spent much time at as a child. You can almost still feel the loss, it was huge and devastating and will always be a part of the community I grew up in. Lots of moments of grief, lots of healing and lots of support and good deeds.

Lots of honors and lots of remembrance, especially this time of year.

My husband and I moved off of Staten Island in 2010. We now live in Northern Virginia, closer to the Pentagon. We will pay our respects to those victims someday soon.

We are very grateful of the paths we chose. Paths which led us to each other. Paths which led us to a new life here in Virginia with two great kids. Paths which may not have intersected had we made other decisions. Paths that led a kind wonderful man to a broken, chronically ill wife who his love has saved many times. I try to walk a path to return that love to him as often as I can.

We often think of his good friend and of those lost on September 11th, and of the paths they took. They were just going about their day. They were just living their lives when tragedy struck. They could have been us. They could have been anyone.

September 11th is always a sad and somber day for us, we barely put on the television for the reminders are still too close and painful. It is a day that should teach us all that every day matters and that life is short. That we must hold those we love close and dear, and cherish every single moment with them.

Our paths will lead us back to Ground Zero soon. Back to see the beautiful new memorial and museum, back to pay our respects, back to where we came from.

Our paths will always lead us home. We should honor all of the victims of September 11th by choosing kinder, gentler paths. Paths of empathy and compassion instead of anger and destruction.

Paths that lead to helping others more and making a difference. Paths that would make all the Angels proud as we salute them each and every year.

We will always remember them. We will always love them. We will spread that love to others and make this world a better place.

For when all is said and done love is all that matters.

That love will always remain, as well as the pieces of broken shattered windows of pain.

dada kids farm walking

 

Kathy ❤

Poetologie