Tuesday, April 19, 2011

This is how long it takes to heal

I wouldn’t have remembered, unless I had been reminded last night.  

So I guess it takes 16 years to heal (for the most part).  This is the first year that I had to be reminded about it.

 okc bmb

April 19, 1995 ~ the OKC bombing.  How could I forget?  How COULD I forget?  But i almost did.

Oh, and here’s a new buddy of mine.  Well, buddy is too strong a word.  New acquaintance.  He was in my office a few times this session lobbying for firefighter training pay.  He was the firefighter/spokesman that everyone remembers from the OKC Fire Department.

 okc bomb2

I only knew one person who died in the bombing …a girl from my school years.  Here is the Freshman Class committee.  I am first row, bottom left.  Beside me is Diana Day, who was our head cheerleader.  She was the only one I knew that died in the bombing.  But don’t ask me how many I know that were affected in some way.  (BTW, a very early boyfriend is also in this pic.  Ya’ll fight amongst yourselves over which one he was.)

9th grade

So cheers to all the survivors.  Including this tree.  The Survivor Tree.  The year after the bombing, President Clinton came and made a speech (yes, I know, I know, but he was very good on this occasion) … part of the speech was that the signs of life returning on this old elm tree was symbolic of the deep roots of this community.  And the Survivor Tree was thus coined.   If that is proper grammar, i know not.

survivor tree

Survivor can take on lots of meanings.  This whole city is a SURVIVOR.  

And I can’t believe that I almost forgot …  because 1995 is also the year my brother died.  In January of that year, a few months before the bombing.  he was 42.  And mom died the next spring.   A broken heart?  So I always associate the bombing with my family loss.  Even though my people didn’t die in the bombing, it was around the time that they did.

So to Chickie, and Auntie, and Boxie, and all others who have lost important people recently … this is how long it takes to heal.   Minimum.  But I am sure you all are survivors.   Honor those lives you have lost.  But survive.

SURVIVE.

5 comments:

chickory said...

oh boy. no one should forget the OKC bombing. I havent but i dont think of it often unless it is in the context of other remarkable similar set ups. that is a discussion for another time. I hate that you have that association...and true we will all have moments of sad remembrance. today in my garden i thought of all the times i complained about weeding with my mom. to a teenager - the long view is difficult.

thanks for this and hugs to you.

Buzz Kill said...

I can't believe it's been 16 years. I'm sure there are a whole lot more reminders in your part of the country than in mine for this tragedy. We have the Twin Towers because so many of those victims were from NJ. I didn't know any of them personally but my sister was working a block away at the time of the bombing. She came home covered in dust - but she came home.

And your boyfriend is 3rd row, 2nd from the right - he's looking at you.

moi said...

I pegged your boyfriend for top, middle, hands in the air like he don't care, but Buzz has a better guess, I think.

carmar76 said...

wow, 16 years? that was my senior year in hs, and i remember thinking the bombing couldn't really be real. like, at first i thought it was some mean, late, april fool's joke.

Pam said...

Chickie: You will have many shoulda/coulda/woulda thoughts as you go through the grieving process. It is never easy. But I would still complain about weeding.

Buzzy: I'm glad your sister made it home. That was an even more horrendous day. And having felt the recoil (?) of our bomb, I don't buy the conspiracy stories of the twin towers being unable to fall under the impact of those planes, not one bit do I buy that inside job theory. And you are wrong with your guess.

Moi: Nope. Not him. And that kid is flashing peace signs, not that you can tell it in the pic. That kid's name was Rudy.

Carmy: We who felt it in my office initially thought it was a natural gas explosion of some sort. There were workers down at street level of our building and we thought something had happened to OUR building, that is how intense it was.