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

The Bombs Bursting in Air

She loved the fireworks at the big, open ball park.  We talked about them as we walked to the bus station, and while we waited for a non-crowded bus in the downtown concrete canyons, someone threw a large firecracker from a building a block away.  I saw the flash from the corner of my eye, and the retort echoed between the buildings, a unique sound.

She was instantly back in Oklahoma City, April 19, 1995.

The body-shaking concussions of the professional fireworks had not fazed her, but the smaller explosion between the tall buildings did.

God damn you, Timothy McVeigh.

A Week of Tragic Anniversaries

April 19, 1995:  The Oklahoma City Bombing
April 20, 1999:  Columbine High School
April 16, 2007:  Virginia Tech Shootings

This is a week of tragic American anniversaries.  It is a week to remember the slain, honor the survivors, and treasure our loved ones.  It is a reminder that those we hold dear can be gone in an instant, and of the importance of letting them know how much we love them, every day.

To my survivor friends and family:  Know that I’m thinking of you today, and sending my love.  I wish you health, happiness, and above all, peace.

Although this original post was limited to 100 words by design, I’m editing this post in 2014 to point out that since I wrote this in 2009, three more American tragedies have occurred:

April 20, 2010: Deepwater Horizons Oil Spill
April 15, 2013: Boston Marathon Bombings
April 17, 2013: West, Texas Fertilizer Plant Explosion

Only one of these would be considered domestic terrorism, like the ones above, but I think it’s sad that there have been any more domestic terrorism events in the last five years.

Blowing the Dust Off

It looks like it’s time to blow the dust off this blog again. Was the last entry really in November 2005? That doesn’t seem that long ago, but according to my calendar, it was about eight months ago. My, how time flies.

A number of things have come to pass since then, including gainful employment with IBM. In addition, I have a few more ComputorEdge articles under my belt, Keith and Logan are out of school for the year, and I have another writing opportunity taking shape behind this curtain over here.

But the most significant thing to happen in the last few months involves my wife, Lannette. She has been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS), a recognized disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. FMS is an often misunderstood malady, and some doctors don’t even recognize it as a valid disorder. Personally, I think they would recognize its validity if they had to deal with it from day to day.

I don’t have FMS, but I am familiar with it. I recognize it from when my brother had Fibromyalgia as a corrollary to Sjogren’s Syndrome. Lannette’s situation is a bit different, because FMS is her primary diagnosis; it is the source of unpredictable pain that moves all over her body from day to day. Living with FMS is a crap shoot for her. She just returned from a trip to visit family in the Pacific Northwest, and even though it was supposed to be a relaxing, renewing trip, it wore her out. She was exhausted when she arrived at DIA, and is taking it easy for a few days.

I’m constantly amazed by my wife. She’s the strongest survivor I’ve ever known. She was two blocks away from the Murrah Buiding in Oklahoma City when Timothy McVeigh blew it up on April 19th, 1995. She has been physically abused in ways that would stagger anyone, yet she still had the strength to fight back from all of that to start and administer an Internet newsgroup for women who have survived domestic violence.

I know that she will find her way through this challenge, find her “new normal.” She always has, always will.

Kids and Columbines

Six years ago today, I got a phone call from a scared little boy – my scared little boy – saying that there were kids shooting people at a school somewhere close to home. He couldn’t remember the name of the town, but knew it started with an “L”. Loveland, Longmont, Littleton, something like that. He was home, but was worried that they were going to come find him. He didn’t know that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were already dead, but he knew that the incident had happened in our county, somewhere near Denver. Somewhere close to home.

Pink Columbines
My fiancée, Lannette, just purchased and transplanted these pink columbines last weekend. Considering the timing, I think they were an appropriate choice. They’ve always been some of my favorite flowers.

The scared little boy from 1999 is now 16, and is lying in an MRI chamber as I write this. He just came out, in fact. I’ll update this later tonight.

Later …

Keith has had trouble with seizures for a couple of years now. In February, I witnessed one, and we decided we needed to do something about it. That emergency room visit was the beginning of what is turning into a long, expensive diagnostic process. Hopefully this MRI will give the doctors some explanation for why Keith has these seizures.

Days like the Columbine and Oklahoma City Bombing anniversaries always make me think about how precious my kids are. Logan is the same age now that Keith was when Columbine happened. What is going to be the memorable trauma in his childhood? He doesn’t really remember 9/11, and though Lannette survived the Oklahoma City Bombing while pregnant with him, he doesn’t remember that any better than I remember riding the teacups at Disneyland while in my mother’s belly. Whatever trauma Logan has to face in the future, I hope it happens far enough away from him that he can experience it in safety.