ALL Lives Matter

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As yet another September 11th approaches, with a 3-hour televised reading-of-names, we should be asking ourselves why (even after 15 years) these particular lives seem to matter more than others. Regardless of your beliefs about destiny and happenstance or your definition of a true hero, there has never been an event in history that has been as publicly commemorated as this one.

September 11th is now part of our history and our culture – alongside two World Wars, too many genocides and the Holocaust. But we have never before dedicated a single day, every year, to publicly name those millions of people who have perished. Didn’t their lives matter, too?

Tragedy and heartbreak come in many forms – death from disease, arson, shootings, car and plane crashes. Who are we to decide whose death is more horrific or more memorable? We ALL matter both in life and in death. Isn’t it possible that the 9/11 families are not so much ‘honoring’ their dead as making their own lives (and losses) matter more?

New York has renamed countless bridges and streets in honor of politicians, policemen and even sports figures. The 9/11 Memorial, in its entirety, takes up much of downtown Manhattan. Since when isn’t a ‘moment of silence’ – generally heard around the world – enough?

I’ve always felt bad for people born on September 11th. How do you celebrate your special day when there’s such sadness all around? Do children innocently ask their parents why THEIR names aren’t being read aloud? Everyone grieves in a different way but most observances are kept private.

There’s a time and a place for remembrance of all kinds. But I believe it’s up to individuals to take on that personal burden if they so choose. We will never forget the events of September 11,2001. But isn’t the whole point for us to move ON and look FORWARD to a brighter future?

 

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My Greatest Accomplishments

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When I made the decision to not only have children but also to raise them myself, I took a lot of criticism from people who had no qualms about letting others raise their own kids. I never voiced my opinion about their decision to work full time and hire strangers to look after their children and I expected at least that much in return.

It’s funny how people view the same situation in such different ways.

Be that as it may, I consider myself lucky to have been able to devote all my attention to my sons and I never regretted that choice.

When I decided to take care of my aging parents I could do no less than that. My parents gave me life just as I gave life to my children. The choice was a no brainier. I am fortunate that, even in their eighties, both my parents are still in my life.

Loving and caring for someone is not a part time job – it’s a lifetime commitment. 

Not that it’s been easy, by any means, but the benefits of this unique living arrangement far outweigh the difficulties we’ve endured. Living with and caring for elderly parents is not a choice to be made lightly. It may not be the right choice for everyone. It takes a lot of hard work and a ton of patience but it can also be one of the most rewarding and selfless things you will ever do!

Maybe Next Year

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They tell us: “never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.” Nobody can predict what tomorrow will bring so why procrastinate? I wonder how many people never got a chance to view a sunset or see the leaves change or watch the tide come in?

These aren’t earth-shattering events and most of us probably take them for granted. How many of us, do you suppose, actually stop and look up at a full moon or count the stars up in the sky? We’re always in such a rush. Even the biggest moments of our lives – weddings, births, graduations – they’re usually captured on film, with our eyes behind the lens of a camera instead of on the subject at hand in that crucial moment.

In life, there are rarely second chances. Do overs are something we play at as children. They don’t really exist. As they say: “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” Convincing yourself or others that you’ll get around to doing something ‘next year’ is a bet you should not be willing to take. Because you just never know…!

A healthy and happy 2016 to all.

 

Planning A Trip

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What used to be an exciting event – planning a much needed vacation – is now an exercise, for some (particularly the elderly), in overcoming obstacles. There are many unconventional things that must now be considered before embarking on, say, a cruise:

  1. Are there wheelchairs available in the terminals (and onboard the ship itself)?
  2. Will all your meds be able to pass safely through customs?
  3. Do you have a doctor’s note to explain the beeping that will (because of the titanium rods currently holding together your limbs) inevitably occur when you go through the metal detectors?

Mind you, these are only some of the obstacles elders will be facing getting onto the ship in the first place. Once you board:

  1. Are there elevators to take you not only floor to floor but also to your seats in the dining areas and theaters?
  2. Is there a special menu for diabetics?
  3. Are there devices for the hearing impaired in noisy areas where BINGO and other activities take place?

And this doesn’t even cover any additional transportation snafus that might be incurred by using planes, busses, cabs or boat tenders to and from the cruise ship. Sadly, at this point, you will be so exhausted from merely planning (what should have been) this fantastic trip that you’ll most likely… just stay home!

 

Not Quite Seasonal

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Many days throughout the year are marked by some celebration or another. The major holidays are booming and even lesser ones are becoming Hallmark gold.

But what about those days – you know the ones – where nothing special happens and we’re lucky if we even remember them? Maybe the weather was bad or a game we wanted to watch wasn’t being televised and there was nothing else on TV but repeats… Don’t they matter, too?

Even on those unremarkable days, children are born, people die and life altering events happen halfway around the world. But we aren’t aware of any of it. We just go about our business until the next ‘big’ thing comes along.

So, next time you wake up and have breakfast and wonder what you’re going to do that day… just look at all the gorgeous colors outside your window. It costs you nothing, it (hopefully) puts a smile on your face and maybe even brightens up an otherwise ordinary (NOW seasonable) day.*

*Between one upcoming holiday and the next, casually pick a day (a Monday, for instance) and make it memorable. Go out and take some pictures; look up someone you’ve lost contact with; volunteer at a shelter (be it for humans or for our four-legged friends). Believe me… it’ll matter!