Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A week of rememberence

Every year I flip the calendar to the month of April. I look at the days, the ones that hold significance. The month sees my husband's birthday. A best friend’s birthday. Hockey playoffs begin. The usual appointments and get together dates with friends and family. Most of which seem to be normal and only mean something to those closest to me.

And then there is the week.

There is nothing marking anything down to even hint at the significance of it. No marking of any kind, my neatly left handed written does not dare touch upon it. Yet, like an elephant in the room it does not need to written down to know what week it is.  
I will simply call it remembrance week.

 It started back in high school, April 19, 1995 to be exact. Oklahoma City. At 14,I admit I don't remember much of it. I wasn't as interested in things like this back then. And this of course was pre-Facebook, and twitter, things were so different back then. (And the fact I can say that, back then and know what it means is sort of scary.) Still I remember it, how devastating it was. How every time someone says Oklahoma City, the name will forever be associated with that tragedy. How just this morning I saw the iconic image of the firefighter holding a baby and had to step away. 18 years after such events.

Followed by Columbine High School on April 20, 1999 while I was in my freshmen year of college. I don't think I will ever forget sitting there glued to the television as the news broke, watching the kids running out of the building. How can I?  School violence was something new, no one could ever imagine such an act. By the end of the day, everyone knew was 4/20 meant. And it had nothing to do with  the shot heard around the world. It took on a whole new meaning. From that point on, school systems would not be the same, or at least we had hoped. Talks of security and medal detectors and things I never had to deal with on a daily basis found their ways into the halls of our local high schools.

Then Virginia Tech on the 16th of April 2007. Six years ago I sat behind my computer screen. I was in the middle of creating an offer letter for someone when an IM popped up from my cousin down at Tech. It was sort of out of the blue since she was in the middle of class. And it was vague. Very, very vague. Simply saying she was alright, but in a classroom, locked down. She wanted me to know she loved me. Asked if I could get a hold of my aunt for her. And anyone else in the family. Let them know the same. I at the time had no clue about what was going on, she said something about shootings. And then she took off. Leaving me to do endless amounts of searching on news sources. Throughout the day I kept in contact as much as I could with her, while she was searching for her best friend. When she told me that very friend was one of the victims. Even if she was alright, at the moment it didn't matter. I sat there stunned. Too much in shock to do anything more for the day. I still have trouble talking about it, even if my cousin was alright and I truly didn't know her best friend other than that, she was my cousins (or one of them) best friend. She was her roommate. She went to school with people I knew. Amazing, the lady who sat beside me at work, her best friend lost a daughter. We sat there together the entire day both keeping each other informed and huddled together in the tragic day. It was an amazingly scary day to say the least.

And then it happens. April 15, 2013. During the annual Boston Marathon. Two bombs go off. A day that Bostonian's take pride in and they should. A day for Patriotism and goodwill. It’s one of those days where people should not have to worry about running a marathon only to fear for their safety at the finish line. Just as much as kids should not have to go to school only to worry about not coming home that day.
I am by no means not recognizing other tragedies, the Newton events, 9/11.  These too will forever go down as events that changed the way I feel about things. The way I hold my son a little tighter at night and wish for just a couple more minutes.

 Nor am I that naive to know things like this don't happen. I know they do. And they are all tragedies, no matter when they occur. But it just seems as though this specific week is becoming a week filled with tragedy after tragedy. Loss after loss. Every year we add another ribbon and color to our wardrobe to serve as a reminder that we will never forget such events.

If only we never had to start in the first place.

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