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

 

Yes, Virginia…We Need Stronger Gun Laws

Virginia, throughout America your little friends are crying. They have been affected by their parents, and other Americans, cynicism, divisiveness and apathy. They know the scary things which they see on the news. They comprehend the violence occurring every day on their streets. Their minds are not little. They see the bloodshed. They feel the loss of their innocence. In their great big worlds dreams are being replaced by fear, art is being replaced by a picture of their friends mother crying at their child’s burial. They are not too young to grasp the fact that their classroom closets are now our inept way to cope with the reality of gun violence in our nation.

Yes, Virginia there is a need for stronger gun laws. Those of us who are willing to put politics aside and march toward a safer, more peaceful world know this. Your world should be filled with joy and fireflies, sprinklers and bike rides, carnivals and endless laughter. We should always put you first, and do what we can to protect you from harm. So that your world will be like an infinite poem, one that provides a rhyme and reason for your beautiful life.

We should not turn a blind eye each time we hear a story of another child killed by a gun not stored safely, or by a person intent on doing harm to school children or innocent bystanders. Over thirty thousand beams of light are extinguished each year by a gun. This light should not be forgotten, these flames should continue to burn in each one of us.

Not believe in gun laws? You might as well not believe in the pursuit of happiness which our forefathers fought so bravely for. So many people are fighting every single day for you and your happiness Virginia. They walk the streets, they make phone calls, they attend tough meetings. You may not see them, but they are there just as sure as the princesses that fill your dreams. Many of us choose not to see these unsung heroes, but many of us do and march to the beat of the same drum.

You can take apart this drum and see the rim, tension rods and tuning screws, but you cannot see the depth of the heart that beats for you and for all Americans. These hearts are strong, these hearts are united, these hearts want you and all children/people to be given a chance to lead a full, wonderful life. They believe in stronger gun laws and background checks because they work and save lives, not because of a secret agenda. Their agenda is pain. Their agenda is a mother’s tears. They want these tears to stop flowing. They can see the reality of the situation, but they remain hopeful. They want to fill your world with this hope, and they want you to revel in the beauty of this nation. The beauty of friendship, the beauty of community, the beauty of love.

No gun laws? That was never the intention of our forefathers, for they knew we must create, amend and uphold the laws of our land so that we can all be safer and free. Many years from now, I hope you are able to look back on a wonderful childhood, free from the fear and constraints of a violent society.

We have the ability to make that happen. We are the adults, and yes you should believe in us. You should believe in childhood fantasies and fairy tales. You should walk the streets with a smile on your face, and lots of love in your heart. You should believe that we will keep fighting for you and never let you down.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

* This blog post is inspired by, and follows the format of the famous editorial “Is There a Santa Claus?” which was printed on September 21, 1897 in The New York Sun

 

The Christmas Stocking: A Tale of Miscarriage, Hope and Miracles

I met my husband when I was 34 years old. We both had no children. We both loved Star Wars, Star Trek and Lord of the Rings. We fell in love at warp speed.

Within weeks we were speaking about how much we wanted our own little Hobbits to be running around. Within months we moved in together, then eloped in Lake George, NY.

We knew that we were meant for each other, and we knew that we wanted to try to have a baby as soon as possible.

Due to past issues with ovarian cysts and Endometriosis, both of which I had to have surgery for, I was worried about whether or not I would be able to have children. I didn’t know if the force would be with me in this endeavor.

We went to see the specialist who had performed my surgery for Endometriosis, at Weill Cornell Medical Center in NYC. He said that in his professional opinion I should be able to conceive.

We went home ecstatic and I was pregnant within a month. We were so happy, and began making plans and discussing baby names.

I fell in love with the name Jaina, after I saw my husband creating a Photoshop wallpaper of Jaina Solo, a character from the Star Wars Expanded Universe.

He told me about how he had been dreaming of having a son named Ryan for as long as he could remember.

I loved that name for a boy, and he loved the name I picked out for a girl.

A few days after our doctor appointment, we went to Michael’s craft store for some decorations for our first Christmas together.  One of the first things I saw was a little stocking that had the name Ryan imprinted on it.  I felt a feeling of warmth rush through me so I bought it.

We found out months later that we were having a baby girl.  We were thrilled that our little Jaina would be coming, but I never forgot about that stocking and kept it on my shelf.

Our first year as parents was amazing.  Our little girl looked like an Elven princess, and was so easygoing.  She made us want to have more kids, and we wanted to make her happy by providing a sibling.

We were pregnant again when our daughter was thirteen months old.  We were so happy that our children would be close in age. They could be Jedis together and fight the dark side. We heard the baby’s heartbeat and thought everything was fine.

Then it wasn’t.

At our thirteen week pregnancy checkup the heartbeat was gone.  I tried to let out a scream but couldn’t. I wondered why my sweet baby left me.

This happened four more times, for three more years.  Each loss was very difficult.  I put a blanket on the pain, each thread kept the sorrow in.

Some people told me that maybe I should consider adoption, or maybe I wasn’t meant to have more children.  But each time I glanced at that stocking, I knew that I was on the right path, and that a Christmas miracle would occur.

Though I was very sad about it, and struggling with it, I never lost hope. Deep down I always knew he would come. I didn’t know how or when, I just never gave up trying.

Then in October 2010, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Ryan.

Someday I will tell him this story.  I will tell him how hard we tried to have him, and how we never gave up.  I will tell him how we loved him years before he came. I will tell him to have faith and to listen to his inner voice…or the voice of Yoda.

I will give the Christmas stocking to him one day. I hope he will cherish it as much as I do.

I hope he will believe in miracles, for he is one….

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

 

 

How the Newtown Tragedy Made me a Better Mom

I think all moms remember where they were when the news broke about what occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Though it took place three years ago, the memories are still so vivid.

What happened was a mom’s worst nightmare.  It will always haunt my dreams.

I remember counting the minutes until I would be able to pick up my daughter from school that dark day in December.  She was in second grade at the time, and close in age to the 20 young children who were killed.

I never wanted to hug her more.

I never wanted to let her, or my 2 year old son, go.

That night when I put both of them to bed, it was like no night before. Everything had changed.

My senses were heightened, my fear was raised, my love for my children had never been more clear. They were all that mattered, and I was very lucky to be able to tuck them into bed that night.

I turned on the news once they were sleeping, and it was very hard to watch.  I think I cried the whole night through.

The crying lasted for weeks.  I think my husband thought I was losing it.

Though I was very lucky to not have been directly affected by the tragedy, it caused me so much pain.  I had to find an outlet for this pain.  I had to try to do something to help.

I lived about 5 hours from Sandy Hook, so going there wasn’t an immediate option, plus I knew that they did not want many outsiders visiting.

So I started a Facebook page called “Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown.”  The only purpose for this page was to say that I was sorry.  I had never had a page before, and I had no idea what I was doing.  I only knew that I had to do SOMETHING.

I didn’t care how many people saw my page, I would have been happy if only one Newtowner saw it & felt a little comfort from it.  I wrote a poem for Newtown, through many tears. I was glad to have something to occupy my time while I worried about my daughter while she was at school.

My page only grew from there and I was able to reach and talk to many people from the town, and even raised some money for them.  I really didn’t know what to say at first other than I’m sorry, but I managed to find words for the past three years.  I wrote many poems, including 26 individual poems for each beautiful Angel taken too soon.

Through the work on my page, and contact with many residents of Newtown, I have become a much better person and a much better mom.

I followed the stories very closely and watched many news reports. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the grace, humanity and love pouring out of the residents of Newtown, including some of the parents of the victims.

They came together and supported each other through one of the worst events in recent history.  People all over the world sent cards, gifts and prayed for all of them.

The many images of love, began to shine a light on the darkness.

I felt my own darkness lift, as I saw the best of humanity come out to help a broken town.

Watching all of “the helpers” these past three years has really affected me in a positive way.  I started to gravitate to these stories more, and it has managed to change me in many different ways.

I now seek out inspirational people who are trying to make this world a better place.  I read their stories, I commiserate with them, I learn from their life lessons. They are my heroes and role models.

Many of the families who have lost loved ones at Newtown have started charities or foundations in order to continue their family members legacies of kindness, service and love.  They are managing to help so many children, people, and animals lead better lives. Though they will always be grieving, they have not let this stop them from helping others.

This has truly humbled me and brought me to my knees a few times.  If they can manage to do this after all they have been through, why can’t all of us?

If they can still find hope and see the good in others, after what they have lost, why can’t we?

Many of these families share pictures and memories with the world of their beautiful loved ones.  They are showing us what extraordinary children/people they were.  They are showing us how they are still making a positive difference in the world.  They are showing us what great parents they are.  They are showing us what true love is.

I have learned to open up and share more because of them.  I have learned to be more charitable and search for ways, big and small, in which I can help those in need.

But most of all, I have learned to appreciate my kids more.  My time with them is not guaranteed.  I must make the most of it.  I must show them how to be kind and compassionate by the way I treat them and others. I must tell them often how much I love them, and how much they mean to me.

I will never forget the 26 Angels of Newtown.  I will never forget the lessons I have learned from a little town in Connecticut that was shattered by pain. A town that is still learning how to heal through hope and kindness.

I will always remember what they have lost, and try to make my time here on Earth count.  I will do what I can to make my family and others happy in the time I have left.

I wish more than anything that I could turn back time and make the tragedy never happen.

But I can’t.

So I will continue to love with all my heart….

 

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown

You can find out more about the 26 Angels and their legacies via this link to the family run website:

http://mysandyhookfamily.org/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Sorry is not Enough: An Open Letter to All Parents of Children Lost to Gun Violence

To All Parents Who Have Lost Children to Gun Violence:

I will no longer say I’m sorry for what you’ve been through, because sorry is not enough.  Sorry won’t make you feel any better. Sorry won’t dry your tears.  Sorry won’t bring back your beautiful children.

I was sorry on 12/14/12, the day of the Newtown tragedy.  I have been sorry every since.  But not much has changed, in fact the incidents of mass shootings are getting more frequent.

I was so sorry that I started a facebook page called Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown on 12/19/12.  I have been saying sorry to those in Newtown ever since.  And though I know that many of the residents of Newtown follow my page and appreciate what I’m trying to do, it just isn’t enough.

avatar26new

Sorry is just a way of trying to make myself feel better.  It is a kind thing to say I guess, but it doesn’t change anything.

It doesn’t change what happened in San Bernardino, it doesn’t change what happened in Roseburg, Aurora, Virginia Tech, or what happens every single day in our country.

It doesn’t change what just happened in Orlando. Forty-nine innocent people slaughtered once again. The worst mass shooting in US history. Innocent victims of our cowardice, inaction and apathy.

I AM sorry that we have failed you.  As a country, as a people, as human beings.

We refuse to see your horrible tragedies for what they are.  An inexcusable, preventable injustice.  A horrible loss that NONE of us would like to face.

You are living a parents worst nightmare.  You have joined a club NONE of us want to be in.  You shouldn’t have to stand alone.

While many of us get over the horror of these tragedies and move on with our lives, you can never truly move on.

You must deal with the loss of your loved ones on a daily basis.  You are serving a sentence, and you never committed a crime.

I can no longer carelessly leave the TV on while my young children are home, for fear they will hear of the next school shooting or mass shooting.

I can no longer feel content after I drop them off at school, the movies, or the mall.

For your losses are ALWAYS at the back of my mind.

I no longer care about there being two sides to the gun issue.

We should ALL be on the side of humanity.

We should focus on there being one side only- the side of less death from gun violence.

I care about you and the pain you are going through.

I don’t want to see another parent go through that pain.

I want to see the killing stop.

I want to see the streets filled with laughing children, not blood.

And every single one of us should want the same thing.

And every single one of us should do whatever it takes to protect the children, and all of us, from the next shooting.

Whatever it takes.

The time is now to stop the division, and to put the lives of others first.

After all, we are all human.

ALL of us care about our children.

So I will not say sorry for the thousandth time.

I will say I wish you ANY peace you can eventually find.

I will say if there is ANYTHING I can do to help you, I will.

I will say that I wish that all of us will now have the courage and determination to put an end to this misery.

For sorry is just not enough…..

Love Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown

26 seeds garden me

You Can’t Always Get What You Want

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Today is Mick Jagger’s birthday. July 26th. A day I always remember since I grew up loving & idolizing him. I fell in love with his music at a very early age, since my sister was always playing her Stones albums.

I recognized the power and poetry of some of their lyrics, as I was discovering my own voice and ability to write poetry. I thought about him as I walked through Central Park.

pburgh defried hall all of us

Mick was my imaginary high school boyfriend, since I was too shy & troubled to have my own. He shared in my college experience as his music was always playing on my cassette recorder, and as I realized my dream of seeing him in concert for the first time in 1989, while I was a sophomore.

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His music played while I had the joy of giving birth to my daughter, and helped as tears went by through many miscarriages. He helped me navigate through a world that seemed to be painted black.

r & ryan walking sc

After my 19th nervous breakdown, I was able to give birth to a son, and we moved to sweet Virginia.

We seemed to be getting what we wanted. A nice family & place to live. Walks in the park, summer vacations, and nice visits from Grandma & Grandpa.

Then one year ago today, July 26th, we lost Grandpa to pancreatic cancer.

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This date now takes on a different meaning. It is a sad reminder of the joy & fragility of life.

We are saddened that we didn’t get more time with Grandpa & that he couldn’t watch his grandchildren grow up.

We are out of time, but we are not out of love.

mick bw vintage harpers bazaar cover

And as I sit here playing my Stones songs today, I will think of Mick, and I will think of Grandpa.

And I will remember that though you can’t always get what you want, if you try sometimes, you can still get & spread all the love that you need…………..

RIP Grandpa. We love & Miss you

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

The Voice in the Breeze

newtown rams pasture 2 geese green

You walked through a nightmare,
you have troubled sleep;
you tread very slowly,
and have many secrets to keep.

But you keep on walking,
each step is so brave;
you’ve cried so much, that your pillowcase,
is now torn and frayed.

Each tear is a memory,
each tear falls with hope;
that you will overcome this,
that you will learn how to cope.

With a pain and understanding,
that you shouldn’t have to bear;
but please hear my voice,
and know that I care.

I am the good in the world,
I am the voice in the breeze;
I will follow you, and love you,
and answer your pleas.

If you listen very closely,
you will see this is true;
that kindness surrounds you,
and helps you pull through.

You will learn to hear it,
this voice in the breeze;
you will follow it, and eventually,
answer another’s plea.

But, you will still feel the darkness,
try to draw you in close;
so reach out to others,
and the ones you love most.

For life is a journey,
of a hundred million steps;
some are easy, some take courage,
but just try to do your best.

And realize how special,
and how beautiful you are;
you can do anything,
and you will travel far.

And, as the miles,
start to cover what once was;
you will look back,
and remember all the love.

For love does not fade,
just like the voice in the breeze;
believe in yourself,
and you will learn to be free.

Now try to rest your head,
and please listen to me;
I promise you will be okay,
Love the voice in the breeze….

This poem is written for/dedicated to all of the children of Sandy Hook, CT.  It can also apply to many others facing trauma or adversity.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

I Want to Live: The Shadows of Gun Violence

dad & us at police camp

On a cold night in February, 1983, my life changed forever.

While I was watching Crystal & Alexis duke it out on Dynasty, I heard a knock on the door.

We weren’t expecting anyone, so I felt a sensation of fear.  That sensation grew as I saw my father’s face in the door window, surrounded by the dark shadow of night.

My parents were going through a nasty divorce at the time, and my father was mentally ill, angry, lonely, and had nothing to lose.

I was happy when he moved out.

I was happy when his gun went with him.

His gun was issued to him by the NYC Police Department.  It went with him everywhere.  It threatened me.  It tormented me.

And now on this dreadful night, I knew that it may be the last thing I saw.

I opened the door due to some kind of foolish daughterly duty, and he place the gun upon my temple.

There were no hugs and kisses.  He simply said “do you want to die first?”

These words have echoed in my head for decades.  These words will forever haunt my dreams.

Upon hearing them, I panicked.  My reaction was to run out of the room and try to hide.  I heard my father drunkenly shouting at everyone, including my aunt, sisters and mother.

I did not know what to do.  I was 13 years old and didn’t have any answers.

So I ran.

And I haven’t stopped running since.

I ran barefoot through the snow to my neighbors house.  My shadow appeared in the moonlight upon the snow.  “Do you want any socks?” they said as they stared at my bare, wet feet.

I mumbled something to them like “my dad’s there, he has his gun.”

My neighbor was also a cop, so he walked to our house with his gun.  His wife called the cops.  The good guys.

Why wasn’t my dad one of those good guys?  I thought to myself.

Though I did not hear any gunshots, I had no idea if my family was alive or dead.  I was frozen and out of it.  I felt ashamed of myself for running and abandoning them.  I still do.

Though my family & I were lucky enough to survive, the shadows of gun violence will always remain.

They are a dark presence in my life, and even though my father passed away almost 10 years ago, his words still haunt me.

Being a gun violence survivor in any capacity, affects you for the rest of your life.

It may cause fear, anxiety, shame, PTSD, etc.  It casts a shadow upon many of the things you do.

And though counseling and/or time may help, you are never truly free.

You are its prisoner, and the constant reminders of the gun violence plaguing our nation continually tighten its grasp.

You are the child at Sandy Hook.

You are the movie patron in Aurora.

You are a member of the bible group in Charleston.

You are the college student in Roseburg.

You are at the holiday party in San Bernardino.

You are a member of a growing number of gun violence survivors.

You are a part of the human race.

You know all too well that a gun is not love.

A gun is taking away many of those we love.

It is an instrument of death, especially in the wrong hands.

It must not be held up above humanity.

It must be regulated to protect humanity.

It does not love.

It does not breathe.

It is my foe.

My dad used to call me foe, as a joke from fe fi fo fum.

“Do you want to die first?”

No Daddy…………………..I want to live…………………………

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

Hate Showed Up Late

heart ocean foam

I was walking on a beach,

but hate showed up late;

it tried to get my attention,

but I wouldn’t participate.

It tapped me, it poked me,

it sharpened its claws;

but I chose to ignore it,

though it was seeking applause.

Applause I wouldn’t give it,

for I do not agree;

that I should treat poorly,

those who are different from me.

And though I am surrounded,

by some images of hate;

something evil’s gone fishing,

but I won’t take the bait.

I will seek out kind fish,

in our great human pond;

and when sharks surround me,

I will happily swim on.

To a glorious ocean,

where hate’s always late;

let’s all change the current,

and let love set us straight.

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

(& Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown, Nuts About My Son)

The Flame

I wrote this poem awhile ago, inspired by Newtown.  Today I dedicate it to the victims of the Charleston tragedy.

Rev. Clementa Pinckney
Tywanza Sanders
Cynthia Hurd
Sharonda Singleton
Rev. Daniel Simmons
Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor
Susan Jackson
Ethel Lance
Myra Thompson

We will remember your names…..

candle heart hands

The Flame

When the candles stop burning,
will you remember my name?
Will you honor my shortened life,
will you carry on the flame?

The heat of injustice,
can ignite a spark;
though the candles will stop burning,
I’ve already left my mark.

On this world that is fleeting,
with short news cycles, it’s true;
when the candles stop burning,
I’ll still be remembered, will you?

Do what you can,
to bring peace and love to mankind;
so when the candles stop burning,
you will not be left behind.

So try to make a difference,
as time waxes and wanes;
leave this world better off,
since the time that you came.

Live life with much purpose,
through all the twists and turns;
so when your candle stops burning,
another will continue to burn…

Kathy ❤

Poetologie

(& Twenty Six Seeds of Love for Newtown)

#CharlestonShooting

#Charleston

#PrayforCharleston