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Ode to a Mother’s Heart – Part II

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Last month, I attended the funeral of a co-worker’s daughter. She was only twenty-seven years old. A beautiful soul, inside and out. She and her mother were connected to the hip. As a mother myself, I could only imagine the thoughts rolling around in this mother’s head, the depth of the pain in her heart, the weight of the burden upon her shoulders, and the hundreds of unanswered questions that most likely wanted to consume her.

This week, I attended yet another funeral of the untimely death of a mother’s child. This son was just twenty-two years old and had even served in the military. He was his mother’s pride and joy: strong, handsome, charming; his whole life ahead of him. To witness the pain in this mother’s eyes, touched me with every fiber of my being.

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For these families, I imagine there will be many tomorrows before the pain eases.

I don’t care how tough you think you are, a parent having to bury their child will bring anyone to their knees! For a parent to have to bury a child, it is a bitter pill to swallow. A myriad of emotions run rampant. The mind replays a flood of memories. The inner voices and screams cry out in despair and in utter darkness in mid day!

For this tragedy to have happened to these families – any family – my heart grieves for them. But especially for the mother. I can only fathom the sheer loneliness of a mother’s heartbeat for the loss of her child, no matter what age. Surely, every tear that escape serves as an expression of a genuine love embedded in a mother’s heart for a lifetime, more so than the nine months she carried that child in her womb.

I’ve asked myself why many times. But I think I know the reason why I tend to weep upon hearing the first sound of a newborn’s cry. I am reminded that a little miracle came out of me! A fresh start. New beginnings. Those cries remind me of that special moment in time where I first felt pure joy, hope, and thanksgiving. I am awaken to a sea of memories of the dreams and plans for this gift of a new life after giving birth. As fate would have it, not every dream comes to fruition, not every wish becomes a reality. There are many joys and sorrows in caring for children. But I imagine no sorrow can compare to having to say goodbye to your little one (young or old), knowing that it should have been the other way around.

I hurt for these mothers. Although they may never get over the loss of their child, I pray in time, they will get through it.

 

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Ode to a Mother’s Heart (Part I)

© M.A. Pérez 2015, All Rights Reserved

5 Comments

November 18, 2015 · 7:05 PM

I’ll Never Forget 9/11

I imagine most of us remember where we were or what we were doing on September 11th, 2001.

Around 7:50 a.m. while driving to work, the morning newscast blared over the radio that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. As soon as I arrived at the office, I ran in and flicked on the TV to see the live broadcast of a massive hole in one of the towers caused by the plane’s impact minutes before. As fellow co-workers gathered in the small conference room, we couldn’t peel our eyes away from the screen. Black smoke billowed out the building, soon engulfed by flames.

We heard what our ears didn’t want to hear and continued to see images that will forever be etched in our minds. My insides plummeted as I saw a second plane hit the other tower. Buildings collapsed minutes later and we all gasped in horror knowing that hundreds—thousands—lost their lives.

My heart went out to those who lost loved ones on that fatal day.

That same evening, President Bush spoke powerful words: “Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended.”

Freedom isn’t free, I thought, and freedom is worth any cost.

(Excerpt from “Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace,” chapter 43.)

May our presidents keep us free from terror, both at home and abroad.
May Almighty God keep us safe and secure in our hearts and in our homes.

photo credit: inktheworld.blogspot.com

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© M.A. Pérez, 2015, All Rights Reserved

7 Comments

Filed under Remembering 9/11/2001

My Colorado’s Bicentennial (Mis)Adventure

July 31, 1976

Have you ever experienced a what if? Ever been dangerously close to a hazardous situation, to realize just how fortunate you were to have escaped, only to have it gnaw at you later?

Today, as I celebrate this Independence Day, my mind goes back to a moment in time I shall never forget.

We headed for Colorado’s Rocky Mountain State Park for a continued weekend bicentennial celebration, to enjoy the magnificent canyons’ cool mountain air and breath-taking river valleys.

LovelandPassCO

Loveland Pass, CO looking east from the summit. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

The afternoon breeze, mingled with the whiff of hamburgers sizzling on the pit, put our troubles behind us. Don was in good spirits, along with ample supply of his favorite beverage. He drank one after another, as he rehashed old childhood and war stories. I roasted marshmallows over the campfire, until raindrops drove us inside our van. We tucked in for the night in our sleeping bags.

In no time, Don’s snoring commenced. As my eyelids grew heavy, I thought, at least I’m not out in this wilderness alone.

Sometime later, I awoke with a start, “Donny! Donny, wake up!”

“Hmmm?” my still-asleep, great protector mumbled, turning over.

I sat up and held my breath. I felt the van vibrate. The plunking sound of raindrops rattled across the rooftop, lashing at the van’s exterior. I strained to listen for something else, feel something else, but wasn’t sure what.

Only a case of bad nerves, I reasoned, starting to lie back down. No! There it is again.

“Donny, did you feel that? Our whole van shook!”

“Go back to sleep, gal,” Donny muttered. “It’s probably just a bear.”

Just a bear? Better not be any bear out there!

Minutes passed. I lay back down and willed my body to relax. The sound of rain soon lulled my unsettled thoughts and sleep overtook me. Before nodding off, I thought I heard rumbling in the distant.

Dusk turned to dawn, and I considered my night’s fright silly. We ate a quick breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, leftover meat and orange juice.

“Shake a leg,” Donny announced. “Time to go.”

We left our campsite cruising over mucky roads. Puddles and slushy trails made the roads treacherous and tricky. At one point, our van was stuck in the mud. Donny kept his foot over the gas pedal and accelerated. The tires sloshed and the van swirled, nearly tipping over.

“Jesus!” I cried out, thinking we were history.

Unruffled under pressure, Donny turned the wheel sharply to the right and back on the road again.

“What’s the matter?” he said, looking at me as if I were a dimwit.

“Nothing,” I huffed.

As we continued, we noticed massive trees toppled over, many bobbed along in the river. We heard the whump, whump, whump, whump of helicopters overhead. Soon, we approached park rangers re-routing traffic. I stuck my head out the window and overheard bits of instructions given to other passengers in their vehicle. “. . . mountainside . . . engulfed . . . destroyed . . . missing . . . proceed with extreme caution . . . !”

The reporter on the radio described how a typical summer rainfall turned into a horrendous nightmare for hundreds of people. Many homes washed away in a flash flood. Cars vanished, buried under tons of debris. Roads had swept away along the canyon, broken concrete stuck out of the riverbank like foreign objects. It took hours before we careened back into town.

 

Photo: Vehicles were left stranded in the aftermath of the 1976 Big Thompson flood. Courtesy of Water Resources Archive

Photo: Vehicles were left stranded in the aftermath of the 1976 Big Thompson flood. Courtesy of Water Resources Archive

“Big Thompson River Flood Marker” by Wusel007 – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

The morning headlines read:

“THE BIG THOMPSON CANYON FLASH FLOOD.”

Many reported missing. Dead. Houses and businesses washed away, destroyed. The overwhelming thought hit me on how oblivious we were to the dangers the night before. If we had camped near the Loveland area, we would never have escaped. Donny could have innocently erred by having us camped out in that Loveland area—and brushed off my concerns in his half-drunken sleep, just as he did the night before. Then what? We might have been one of those statistics.

© M.A. Pérez, 2015, All Rights Reserved

6 Comments

Filed under Bicentennial, Colorado, Memoir, travel

Remembering 9/11

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WE WILL NEVER FORGET!

Remembering 9/11

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Filed under Remembering 9/11/2001

Remembering 9/11

I imagine most of us remember where we were or what we were doing on September 11th, 2001.

Around 7:50 a.m. while driving to work, the morning newscast blared over the radio that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center in New York. As soon as I arrived at the office, I ran in and flicked on the TV to see the live broadcast of a massive hole in one of the towers caused by the plane’s impact minutes before. As fellow co-workers gathered in the small conference room, we couldn’t peel our eyes away from the screen. Black smoke billowed out the building, soon engulfed by flames.

We heard what our ears didn’t want to hear and continued to see images that will forever be etched in our minds. My insides plummeted as I saw a second plane hit the other tower. Buildings collapsed minutes later and we all gasped in horror knowing that hundreds—thousands—lost their lives.

My heart went out to those who lost loved ones on that fatal day.

That same evening, President Bush spoke powerful words: “Freedom itself was attacked this morning by a faceless coward, and freedom will be defended.”

Freedom isn’t free, I thought, and freedom is worth any cost.

May our presidents keep us free from terror, both at home and abroad.
May Almighty God keep us safe and secure in our hearts and in our homes.

flag

6 Comments

Filed under Sept. 11

My Bicentennial (Mis)Adventure

July 31, 1976

Have you ever experienced a what if? Ever been dangerously close to a hazardous situation, to realize just how fortunate you were to have escaped, only to have it gnaw at you later?

courtesy of Wikipedia

Loveland Pass, CO looking east from the summit. Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Today, as I celebrate this Independence Day, my mind goes back to a moment in time I shall never forget.

We headed for Colorado’s Rocky Mountain State Park for a continued weekend bicentennial celebration, to enjoy the magnificent canyons’ cool mountain air and breath-taking river valleys.

The afternoon breeze, mingled with the whiff of hamburgers sizzling on the pit, put our troubles behind us. Don was in good spirits, along with ample supply of his favorite beverage. He drank one after another, as he rehashed old childhood and war stories. I roasted marshmallows over the campfire, until raindrops drove us inside our van. We tucked in for the night in our sleeping bags.

In no time, Don’s snoring commenced. As my eyelids grew heavy, I thought, at least I’m not out in this wilderness alone.

Sometime later, I awoke with a start, “Donny! Donny, wake up!”

“Hmmm?” my still-asleep, great protector mumbled, turning over.

I sat up and held my breath. I felt the van vibrate. The plunking sound of raindrops rattled across the rooftop, lashing at the van’s exterior. I strained to listen for something else, feel something else, but wasn’t sure what.

Only a case of bad nerves, I reasoned, starting to lie back down. No! There it is again.

“Donny, did you feel that? Our whole van shook!”

“Go back to sleep, gal,” Donny muttered. “It’s probably just a bear.”

Just a bear? Better not be any bear out there!

Minutes passed. I lay back down and willed my body to relax. The sound of rain soon lulled my unsettled thoughts and sleep overtook me. Before nodding off, I thought I heard rumbling in the distant.

Dusk turned to dawn, and I considered my night’s fright silly. We ate a quick breakfast of hard-boiled eggs, leftover meat and orange juice.

“Shake a leg,” Donny announced. “Time to go.”

We left our campsite cruising over mucky roads. Puddles and slushy trails made the roads treacherous and tricky. At one point, our van was stuck in the mud. Donny kept his foot over the gas pedal and accelerated. The tires sloshed and the van swirled, nearly tipping over.

“Jesus!” I cried out, thinking we were history.

Unruffled under pressure, Donny turned the wheel sharply to the right and back on the road again.

“What’s the matter?” he said, looking at me as if I were a dimwit.

“Nothing,” I huffed.

As we continued, we noticed massive trees toppled over, many bobbed along in the river. We heard the whump, whump, whump, whump of helicopters overhead. Soon, we approached park rangers re-routing traffic. I stuck my head out the window and overheard bits of instructions given to other passengers in their vehicle. “. . . mountainside . . . engulfed . . . destroyed . . . missing . . . proceed with extreme caution . . . !”

The reporter on the radio described how a typical summer rainfall turned into a horrendous nightmare for hundreds of people. Many homes washed away in a flash flood. Cars vanished, buried under tons of debris. Roads had swept away along the canyon, broken concrete stuck out of the riverbank like foreign objects. It took hours before we careened back into town.

The morning headlines read:

Photo: Vehicles were left stranded in the aftermath of the 1976 Big Thompson flood. Courtesy of Water Resources Archive

Photo: Vehicles were left stranded in the aftermath of the 1976 Big Thompson Flood. Courtesy of Water Resources Archive
(We were approx 35 miles west from this disaster.)

“THE BIG THOMPSON CANYON FLASH FLOOD.”

Many reported missing. Dead. Houses and businesses washed away, destroyed. The overwhelming thought hit me on how oblivious we were to the dangers the night before. If we had camped near the Loveland area, we would never have escaped. Donny could have innocently erred by having us camped out in that Loveland area—and brushed off my concerns in his half-drunken sleep, just as he did the night before. Then what? We might have been one of those statistics.

© M.A. Perez, 2013, All Rights Reserved

4 Comments

Filed under Bicentennial, Colorado, travel