As you can all see, it’s been awhile. Nothing is flowing from these fingers, and it’s not because I haven’t been thinking about writing. It’s just that what I’m thinking about has nothing to do with politics, nothing to do with what’s passing for news out there. I glance at the headlines and hear whispers that Rick Perry’s popularity may have crested, and that he needs to “revive” his campaign. Revive it? It barely has gotten started. I heard something about his ranch and a racist slur and I think, Why is everyone so surprised? Chris Christie in? Nope. Sarah Palin? Nah.
In other news, the Republicans are threatening to hold their breath and throw a tantrum in the grocery store if the Ds don’t give them more tax cuts. Same song, different day.
In the meantime, the recession has officially been over for two years (for who?), but only the 1% are seeing it. The economy isn’t improving, yet companies are still expected to provide profit to their shareholders, so the real backbone of the company (that would be the employees) are asked to squeeze more blood out of the proverbial turnip with no guarantees that said bloodletting will even guarantee them a job next month. Occupy Wall Street is gaining steam. Will that lead to fundamental change? I hope so.
But. All of the above is merely static.
In a year that has seen, to name just a few, the death of a friend, the murder of a co-worker, the passing of two of our beloved pets, the dissolution of our daughter’s marriage, and the Reno Air Races crash on September 16th, I can only focus on doing the things we need to do to get through to the other side as emotionally whole as possible. And while the world may have paused in shock and grief for a few days after the accident, it has mostly moved on. That is as it should be. Life is for the living. But for us and many others the trauma lingers. It comes at odd times. When I see flashing police lights. I no longer think, Someone’s getting a ticket. Now I think, every damned time, Someone is hurt. Planes coming in for a landing too close to the ground startle me. Planes making the full-throttle steep ascent out of Reno-Tahoe airport are so reminiscent of Galloping Ghost’s final split seconds, that they send my heart racing too. Images of the day appear unbidden at the oddest times. I don’t know what sounds, sights or smells trigger Sweetie’s flashbacks, but I know he has them. Sleep, for him, is still an issue and so he is tired much of the time. At this point, we can only focus on the here-and-now and not clutter our lives up with shit that is still going to be shit tomorrow. It has only been three-and-a-half weeks, but it feels so much longer.
After the accident we wanted to make some sense of it, but it was clear immediately that there was no sense to be made. That has been our answer to every fool who tries to tell us that there must be a reason. No, there isn’t. It was an accident. A horrific, life-changing accident and there is no cosmic lesson we are required to learn. There is no why other than this: In a matter of seconds a piece of the plane broke off, causing the plane to careen out of control, causing the pilot to black out, and ultimately, causing the plane to crash into a crowd of spectators. People died. People were maimed – physically and emotionally. If the plane had crashed on the other side of the field, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. But it happened. And it happened where it did. And we’re just having to deal with it.
In the immediate aftermath of the accident Sweetie started talking about The Nurse. The Nurse who grabbed him as he came running into the carnage. The Nurse who took a look at one victim and said, “He’s not breathing. Come with me.” The Nurse who moved to another pile of humanity, still alive, but minutes from bleeding to death. The Nurse told him to tourniquet the man with two missing legs. “Use your belt,” The Nurse told him. He did. But he needed a second belt and yelled for it – or did The Nurse? A second belt appeared across his shoulder. He pulled that one tight as well and then held on for dear life. And all the time The Nurse moved between the four lying there and yelled for Number 1′s! The Nurse was Sweetie’s touchstone. It was her voice that kept him moving through the awfulness.
So you can understand why Sweetie wanted to know who she was. To find her. To talk to her again. We knew she was from St. Mary’s. That was all we knew. And Sweetie’s recollection of what people looked like was distorted by what he saw that day. Oil, blood, body parts, more blood. He thought she was a tall muscular woman with dirty blonde hair.
I made it my mission to find The Nurse.
To be continued . . .