Tag Archives: worry

A Thousand Cranes

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Photo by jwskks5786 via Pixabay

My son and daughter-in-law have just returned from their honeymoon in Japan. In their account of their amazing and extensive travels, they told me about the Children’s Peace Monument at ground zero in Hiroshima and the young girl who inspired it. Suddenly familiar memories came flooding back. In the early 80’s I was enthralled with a fusion jazz band aptly named Hiroshima. They sang a song about a thousand cranes based on the true account of a young girl named Sadako Sasaki who survived the initial bombing of Hiroshima only to sicken and die from radiation induced leukemia seven years later. Sadako believed the ancient adage that if she could fold a thousand paper cranes she would be healed. Although she was unable to finish the thousand cranes, her friends and family continued her work and spawned a global peace movement.

When 9/11 happened I remember vividly sitting down at the dinner table that night, saying a prayer for the victims and crying. My children were 9 and 13 at the time and needless to say there was a lot of confusion and worry about what was happening and could something like that happen to them. There were many conversations in the days that followed about fear, death, mortality and living your life as you choose despite the fear or the terrorists would win. Since that life changing day, I have burned candles daily with that same fervent and innocent faith of Sadako Sasaki that my prayer for peace and safety would be answered.

Sadly, devastating bombings have continued since that fateful day in August of 1945, one just last week in Manchester, England. Today in Kabul. Yesterday in Baghdad. Paris, Cairo, Brussels. No place is immune. Sadly children are once again victims. Our human sorrow seems to be never-ending. We are at the mercy of those who believe in a cruel and evil god. It is not the god of people who love their children and families and work hard to build a life together. This god has no faith. This god has no religion. This god has no heart.

If I could fold a thousand cranes to fly into this evil and sweep it away with the power of two thousand wings, I would do it even if I grew too old and my hands too stiff to fold. I will never stop fighting for a safe world for my children to live freely and love openly and raise their own children and build a happy life.

20170525_203049In an account following the A-bomb drop on Hiroshima, the crew of the Enola Gay, the plane that carried that devastation, recall being caught in the shockwave of the explosion that rocked the plane and knocked them off their feet. They looked back over their shoulders to see that huge white mushroom cloud unfold. They understood what they had done but could not imagine the extent of the horror their mission wrought. The irony is not lost on me. Drop a bomb to stop a war. Adults start wars but it’s always the children who suffer for those sins.

I think of today’s suicide bombers who detonate themselves and forfeit the chance to look back over their shoulders and struggle with what they have done. Instead I believe they come face to face with their evil god and only then realize the magnitude of their mistake.

In the helplessness of yet another tragedy, I steadfastly light my candles every evening and offer up a prayer for peace on earth. For harmony even among differing beliefs and for the chance for all children to grow and realize their potential. For the safety of my children. For the safety of all children, young and old. For the hope that the power of the peaceful will eventually override the power of hate. That we will finally achieve that nirvana here on earth. Peace.

Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Ribbons

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I have a confession to make. I am a breast cancer survivor and I have never been a fan of the pink ribbon. Just admitting that sounds strange and I can almost hear the gasps coming from fellow survivors and pink ribbon proponents. The pink ribbon has a strong message and it carries a lot of power. I am not trying to diminish any of that. I am just stating it does not reflect my journey.

October was Breast Cancer Awareness month and we were awash in pink. Far beyond the humble pink ribbon, consumers can buy pink watches, pink scarves, pink t-shirts and hats. Professional sport teams wore pink shoes, gloves and strips of pink mixed with their team colors. Pink boas were wrapped jauntily around the necks of those who walked for three days in the name of beating this disease. I am for all of that. I am grateful for the awareness of this deadly killer but cancer of any form is a scourge to humanity. It doesn’t discriminate. It attacks any gender, any age, any socioeconomic group. It can happen to one of any race, of any religion. No one is immune.

I am not sure why I feel the way I do about the pink ribbon. Maybe because once I had breast cancer, it was assumed that I would embrace this badge of courage. I recall the information kit I was given at my doctor’s office shortly after my diagnosis. It was encased in a lovely pink bag. As I battled through treatment I was given gifts of the pink ribbon, bracelets and pins, necklaces, earrings, embossed scarves, coffee mugs and socks, a pink nail polish made especially to honor October. Everywhere was that little twist of pink. So much love and support, so much strength. Except I did not connect with it. I didn’t see myself as wanting to display the battle I went through. Maybe I fervently wanted life to go back to the way it was and that little ribbon was a constant reminder that it never would be.

I do not begrudge anyone who embraces the pink ribbon. It represents something for them I could never imagine. Cancer and the battle to fight it is a very personal journey, any illness is, despite the fact that everyone around you is affected also. A person is faced with so many what ifs and not any guarantees. You are trying to hang onto to some semblance of control even as your body spirals out of your control. Instead you become the property of doctors, nurses, a vast myriad of tests, of the powerful, sickening drugs. A life disrupted. When treatment is done, it’s not really done. There’s a level of mistrust that the cancer is truly gone. There are years of physical, mental and spiritual recovery. There will always be fear of recurrence.

In so many ways the pink ribbon is a symbol of hope, perseverance and defiance. Women, and men too, wear it proudly, wear it in solidarity, in support and for love. But it’s not any of that for me. When October rolls around and everything under the sun is available in pink, I just don’t feel it. I often get strange looks when I express this. I feel as though they wonder how I could possibly reject the pink ribbon that is the blazing symbol of that reluctant sisterhood. I am not sure how to explain it to them except to say that my defiance is a different color.

The pink ribbon represents the continued fight against breast cancer, a fight we seem to be slowly winning. No one is more for that than I am. But I will do it incognito. I do not need to wear any pink to symbolize the fight. The fight was inside me and it was not pink. It was black with rage and grey with fatigue. It was white with hope and green with envy and blue with fragile days of peace. Not a shred of pink in sight.

It’s important for people to have a symbol to rally around. Sometimes in their own sadness and despair it’s the one thing they can cling too. I am happy for those who find comfort in the joy the pink ribbon brings. But I will find my comfort from another source. And keep the prayers for a cure moving forward.

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Confessions of a Baby Boomer Mom – Politico

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Things are getting ugly. As much as I have resisted the desire to be sucked into the political race of the American people, it’s hard to stay neutral. It feels like the lines have been drawn although at times they seem more blurry than ever. Like all of the evil thoughts and deeds that had been held at bay for so long have slithered to the surface. That creepy, underbelly of the human condition has been poked and prodded and all of this nastiness has risen to the top. It’s in the attitudes of people, it’s in the looks at those who are different, it’s in the reactions from those on the street, it’s in the grocery store, it’s in the media. It’s hard to know which way to look or how to feel anything but fear and loathing.

The rhetoric from the top down has been brutal. Respect and decency have been ignored in the name of transparency. I want to cover my son’s ears. I want to cover my daughter’s eyes. Is this America? I have never been much of a protester. I have never marched or carried a sign to a rally. I have always been more of the armchair type of critic. Maybe because it is so safe. But I remember the time my son told me that it’s good to scare ourselves sometimes. I get his point. Sometimes you have to push out of the comfort zone.

Despite the unbelievable information coming to light, we justify so much. We justify in the name of democracy. In the name of justice. In the name of God. In the name of the law. Where does it stop or hit rock bottom? Comedian John Oliver stated that we have sunk so low, it will be a relief when the earth’s magma swallows us whole and puts us out of our misery! Human decency and respect has fallen by the wayside. The gloves are off.

I have never lived through such a spectacle. I feel so much shame for the behaviors exhibited on the world stage. I believed in a different kind of country when I came here. All immigrants did. I raised my children with a different kind of mindset. I feel pushed decades back. Like I am sporting a 60’s pillbox hat. A 50’s kitchen apron. A 40’s dress with shoulder pads. Which is ironic in the decade where a tenacious glass ceiling has been finally been shattered.

It’s hard to know what or who to listen to. After a while it just sounds like scary noise. Todo es mentira. All are lies. I don’t want to believe that but how to know? They tell me my vote matters. My tiny little paper cut in the fight against the opposition will make a difference. Does it? Will it? We are all so tired. My friends and neighbors, my family, my coworkers. Yet we can’t tear our eyes away from the train wreck that is this presidential campaign. Many strong honorable people have spoken out against the ugliness that has come forth but many more have brushed it off. The effects of this will linger long after November 8th. Long, long after. Pandora learned that when she peeked inside that tempting box.

We have less than a month to know if this country will find an even keel in these hurricane waters. Something very primal is telling me I cannot sit this one out. I use this forum for my voice and it would be a disservice not to use it for what I hope is good. There are many good voices out there. Strong, decent, indignant voices. I am not alone. I have hope. I hope the anger and hate that has been stirred will settle and we can get back to the business of living. The tenor of this race insults the good, decent, hard working Americans just trying to carve out a happy life, raise a family, live in peace and harmony. That’s a universal desire among all people. Once the dust settles, I fervently hope that’s what will be finally achieved.

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