The Survivor

for Lannette

 

The reflecting pool stands still

Against the backdrop of empty chairs.

The Gates of Time measure off the minute

When everything changed. Golden

Cranes soar above the museum floor,

Elder brethren to the one above her bed.

 

“But she’s not a survivor; she wasn’t in the building.”

 

In her ears, the blast still rings

Plate glass shards impale like arrows,

Smoke still swirls

Whenever people disbelieve.

Every doubt another piece of rubble

Raining

Down.

 

But like the grand American Elm,

She stands tall, a survivor.

The_Survivor

Image ©2004, Poem ©2010 by Stace Johnson

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Victims’ Rights Week and OKC

This is National Crime Victims’ Rights Week, as well as the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing.

This week, I honor my wife, who was in a building two blocks away from the Murrah building when the truck exploded.

The shock wave blew in the windows and threw her to the floor.  She was several months pregnant with Logan at the time.

Some people say she’s not a victim because she wasn’t actually in the Murrah building.

Tell that to her fibromyalgia and PTSD.  Tell that to the shards of plate glass embedded in the wall behind her chair.

Victims' Rights Week Awareness Tree

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The Decision

$125.36 for round trip tickets.  No luggage.  That would have been $40 more.  No family.  That would have been at least another $165.00.  My credit card only had $127.50.

“Mom, I’m coming out.  I’ll be there when Judy’s there, so you’ll have the family together, like you and Dad want, at least for a couple of days.”

“Good!  I’ll be happy to see you.  By the way, I wanted to let you know … we didn’t intend to hurt Lannette by not inviting her.”

“Well, you did.  That hurt me too.  I’m still not happy about it.”

“I’m sorry, hon.”

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The Return Call

“Dad, I need some more details.  It’s not going to work for me to just tell work that I’m going to Vegas to watch movies with my parents.  What’s going on?  Why do I have to be there within a month?”

“I never said anything about a month.”

“Yes, Dad, you did.”

“Well, we just want to see you, and we don’t want you to have any distractions.”

“I have to bring my family, Dad.  I have to help Lannette with her medications.”

“Well, then, never mind.  Just forget about it.  We’ll call the whole thing off.”

I’m still shocked.

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My Amazing Wife

My wife is amazing.  She was forced out of work due to fibromyalgia.  She spent most of a year in bed, dealing with the fallout of missed commitments, eroding friendships, and guilt about not contributing to the household income.

Then she submitted an essay to the National Fibromyalgia Association and won a scholarship to their International Leaders Against Pain conference.  Empowered, she founded the Colorado Fibromyalgia Network, a grass-roots support group, which has now been chosen to host an educational event for several hundred people, one of only ten such events nationwide.

She’s found her calling, and she’s loving it.

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