Thursday, January 20, 2011

Welcome to My World

JES and Nance and I have been talking on line for a while about how we could generate more visitors to our tiny but wonderful blogs.  Obviously, we've been creative and insightful and thoughtful as we email one another with suggestions and encouragements and I love your last post's.

"And then, damn girl, you go and get yourself shot."

Let me say that there has got to be a less painful way to push your numbers into the 5-figures.  I'm not sure that there is an easier one, though. I'm sharing Sunday night's Dateline episode with Michael Douglas.  You know, the one married to Katherine Zeta-Jones, the one whose father played Vincent Van Gogh.

This little girl has gone big-time.

National news outlets are on TBG's speed dial..... or would be if he used speed dial.  They are certainly in his cell phone.  I have had lovely conversations with editors-in-chief who answer their own phones and who say of course when I ask if I might use the Star for the publication of a thank you note to my fellow Tucsonans.  A reporter from The New York Times spent an hour in my living room.  Bob Woodruff is coming to walk around my yard with me as I wait for Big Cuter to arrive from the airport for a great big mommy hug.

I've told famous national political figures that they could not use me for photo ops and I've been hugged by President and Mrs. Barack Obama.

Let that sink in for a while, denizens.

I got a hug from POTUS.  And I was in my 'jammies (oh, all right, for accuracy's sake it was a hospital gown but you know it wasn't an outfit I'd planned and considered for months).  Amster and I and the most powerful man in the world were in a room together. Hugging.  I was being thanked for encouraging a young girl to participate in the political process by the man who owns the political process.  Michelle and I talked about Kitchen Gardens and broccoli.

Director of Homeland Security and (oh why did you leave us?) former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano said good-bye to Little Cuter by her family nickname after she and SIR were shown holding hands in front of millions of people on television from the first row of the McKale Center as President Obama spoke to the nation on Wednesday night.

And Christina is still dead.

A young friend and I went to the grocery store to meet our elected representative on a sunny Saturday morning and I couldn't bring her home to her parents.  My body is perforated and glued and pinned and plated and my friends don't have their little girl any more.

The publicity, the accolades, the exposure...they are all very exciting.

I'd trade them in a heartbeat for the chance to let Christina beat me at pick-up-sticks.


  1. No way to raise traffic!! Reads like your body is mending and your spirit is strong. Be as well as you can.

  2. So I'm like, what, 3-4 degrees of separation from being hugged by the Prez? All of a sudden I'm feeling all shy and man-crushy. Thank God I threw on a pair of jeans before reading this.

    Seriously, welcome back ("back," sort of) to the world we know you from. Sometime after the original Star Trek series, Leonard Nimoy -- frustrated by his close association with THAT ROLE and ONLY THAT ROLE -- penned a memoir called I Am Not Spock. (I bet a publicist had to talk him out of adding, ...Goddammit!) You, on the other hand, have so far seemed equally comfortable ("comfortable," sort of) as either Suzi Hileman or Ashleigh Burrows, sliding into and out of the role of the moment. I'd love to have an ounce of that fluid self-possession. (Or, if you insist, seeming self-possession (maybe adding, "...goddammit!"))

    So good to see you here. I always think it, even on the days when you're bored and distracted and can't think of anything to do in The Burrow but riff on a YouTube video. :) You and we have probably seen the last day like that for a while, I know, but that's okay because the pleasure has always been in the company and not in the topic. So, again, so very good to see you here.

  3. Like all Arizonans I have been following your progress and wish you well...

  4. Maggie Barduson, Phoenix, AZ maggie@barduson.comJanuary 21, 2011 at 7:25 AM

    Well, here is what I know. I know that I usually tried to read the morning paper (or the" morning flyer" as we have begun to call it lately). I know that I have followed the tragedy in my very own adopted state just like the rest of the world. I know that this morning, I sat at my kitchen table and wept. I can't remember the last time (if ever) that I was so moved by a story. I was so moved by the story of a Mom, who really wants to be a Grandma, who finds kids that need some extra Grandma-ing. She loves them like they are her own. She plays games with them because she has time, and us regular Moms seem to run out of it so quickly. I know that this Grandma Wanna-Be is now world-famous, because she loves kids, and wants to expand their world. I know that she has an amazing ability to share her heart - with kids in her neighborhood, and now, with the world. And, she made a Mom in Phoenix cry her eyes out at the kitchen table today. Just because she wanted to help a little girl with three names have an impact on her world. She got more than she bargained for. And, in God's infinite wisdom, he took that little girl with three names to be with Him, and left that Grandma here to tell the story. Out of tragedy, we see what it really means to love your neighbor as yourself. There is a lady in Tucson who have given the world an example of what it really means to lay down your life for your friends. I know I would love to sit down and have a cup of coffee with her - or even a protein shake, 'cause that helps her bones grow. I know she has a lot more wisdom to share with me - just a Mom who keeps running out of time, as she weeps at the kitchen table.

  5. Susan, the article about you in the Arizona Republic this morning Fri. 21st of Jan.2011 is very inspirational. Thank you for your gracious and loving kindness to humanity. You are amazing. Thank you for sharing yourself with Christina-Taylor. If one wonders what she may have been like as an adult, we can get a good idea from you. Thank you for your example. Be blessed-

  6. And there it is. That painful truth, though eloquently preluded. Positive, healing thoughts and energy are directed your way.

  7. A/B, you are a world class writer. You don't ever have to wonder about that any more. Even with your body all shot up and pinned together, from deep within the rabbit hole, in an unimaginably exhausted emotional state, you put your fingers on the keyboard and something exceptional happens.

    If you are finally beginning to get the readership you deserve, I know you'll put this dark gift to work to produce something truly worthy. We'll marvel with you, crack up with you, bawl with you, and honor Christina with you.

    I missed you. Now, I'm off to follow links.

  8. I am so very sorry. I don't know what to say. I just want to be here to show you moral and virtual support.

  9. Word verification for me was "uniting".

    How fitting eh?

  10. I know I'm a mom of three in Northern Virginia that cannot get the image of Christina-Taylor out of my mind or heart. Those beautiful, big brown eyes....

    And I'm sitting here weeping, just as I've done every day since I heard the tragic news on January 8th. My heart aches so much for you Suzi. And yet, I feel intrusive and I'm sorry for intruding in on your grief. Somehow just getting to know you through your writings is helping me to deal with my grief. At times, I feel that I shouldn't feel this pain and yet it persists... I'm a mom that cannot stop weeping for the loss of a beautiful child that had so much potential.

    Suzi, you showed Christina-Taylor and all of us the beautify in life. You have shown such grace and love in your writings. I hope you don't mind me coming here each day.

    I know we are all going to be alright.... but healing the holes in our hearts is going to take time.

    Sending healing love your way,


  11. Thank you for being here today and for letting us know some of what you are thinking and feeling. But don't forget to get some extra rest, and don't feel like you have to "be here" every day. Put yourself first for a change!

  12. To my brave friend, along with the rest of the world I have been following your journey. Blessed by a loving family and local and national community I believe you will recover with a new and special voice many of us look forward to hearing. Your great American destined to be non fiction,who knew? Please continue to get better. Have to say..potus! Yikes was screaming and so happy he was there for you and your family! Loved seeing tbg,little cuter, and sir,their love and concern was out for the nation to admire. Will continue following your blog but now want to see you on the nytimes bestseller list.

  13. I read the article in the Arizona Republic this morning and cried all the way through. My goddaughter was born the day after Christina-Taylor (she was actually scheduled to be induced on the same day, but bigger things kept that from happening), so Christina-Taylor's loss felt very personal to me even though I've never met any of you. I have been thinking of you, as well, and how heartbreaking this must be for you. I wish there was something I could do to make it better for both you and her family, but I know there is not. All I can do is pray and send virtual hugs and let you know that I am out here grieving with you.

    Karin in Phoenix

  14. I can't even imagine all the emotions you must be feeling. Meeting and hugging the POTUS AND FLOTUS? WOW!

    I hope some of their good wishes will help you when you think of Christina and her family. They sound like simply amazing people. Continued healing and will be watching you this weekend.

  15. I too cried through the Az Rep article today. I just wanted to give you a hug. Then I wandered into your blog and felt an immediate kinship with you. Your stories of G'Ma bring back memories of my mom in her own Pod. Your story of voting with her brought up the exact feelings I felt filling out my own ballot. I have found a home in your blog. I send you healing thoughts and marvel at your strength.

  16. I cried when I read your story this morning. I too have been following the entire thing. Your story, and Christina's, really move me.

    Know that people are thinking of you and sending good vibes your way.

    (And know that I'm envious of your hug from the POTUS!)

    Best to you and yours,

  17. Hi,

    I just finished reading the artical in the paper and it made me cry. I hope you find peace and comfort today and in the months to come.

    I had someone just like you in my life. Her name was Gabe and she was our neighbor. She loved me like her own and helped mold me. I know Christins was very blessed to have you in her life. Reading your story brought back so many memories of my "Gabe". If only we had more Suzi's and Gabe's.

    Have a blessed day.

  18. I've been in the right place at the right time to meet some pretty famous people. But I've never been in the wrong place at the wrong time just to meet those people. I think if you could rewind, if you could'd do it in a second and go back to your peaceful life with a sprinkling of comments.

  19. If you ever want to talk Kitchen Gardens and broccoli with someone a little less famous I'm here, and I think fairly close by.

    And I'm with Nance. Everything she said. I have some other reading to do and DVRing to schedule.

    Be Well.

  20. By sharing your excitement per the POTUS and grief per Christina and the violation of your self and body, and even the shock of fame and outed anonymity, you are helping so many of us here locally and across the country heal. You are real and writing and that helps me to be real and work on my own stuff. My shock and sadness is nothing, an absolute fly speck on a cosmic windshield when looked at through any reasonable perspective. It isn't that what I feel isn't real, but placed in perspective well, it just helps me.

    I can even now imagine writing a critical constituent letter again. I felt so horrible after the shooting about not supporting Gabby as a person, other than with my vote, because she is a conservative Democrat and I am a flaming Progressive peace activist.

    And, well, I tear up every day at the loss of such a vibrant girl as Christina. But you are writing. If you can do that, I can continue to do my stuff too. I try to shape the world into a more peaceful place for my own daughter, step-daughter, and twin baby grand-daughters.

    Thank you again for your strength. If you need strength in the future, after the whirlwind has subsided a bit, there are lots of us here in Tucson who would be more than willing to return some strength to you, however you may need it. Please remember that.

    Now I'm off to check out your friends' blogs.


  21. DH and I just watched the Brian Williams interview. You did such a good job of telling the story, I swear it could not have been done better. We were as close to being there with you as we could bear to be, and that witness honors Christina. It accomplishes the thing that--for now,but just for right now and not for forever--is a calling: to make as sure as you can that what happened is not glossed over, not minimized or forgotten.

    In this house, we won't ever forget. But, oh, honey, as much as I want to see you and hear you, I cannot watch it twice tonight and sleep at all. I hope you are being helped to sleep as much as you need to.

  22. Thank you for sharing your sincere sorrow with the rest of us tonight (NBC). We both shed tears for you and the loss of your young friend, Christina.

  23. Dear Suzi,
    You are not alone in loving and mourning Christina. I didn't even know her, but she has captured my heart. She loved you and she loves you still. I'm sure your being there and talking to her in the last minutes of her life provided a comfort you cannot imagine right now. Know of everyone's prayers for your body's recovery and for the recovery of your heart. You are loved.

  24. Hi Suzi:

    Thanks for sharing in your blog. I look forward to our interview tomorrow.

    Stephanie Innes, Arizona Daily Star

  25. a/b
    It seems like most of the time life here is like gently rolling hills, some highs some lows, but nothing we can't handle. Then something like this is all deep crevasses and astounding vista-filled mesas. The crevasses are horrendous.

    In a heartbeat. Stay strong. We're here for you.

  26. Hi Ashlei:

    I just left a voice on TBG's phone (it is the only number I had with me) and THEN I was able to find and watch your interview today online with Brian Williams.

    I have tears streaming down my face as I am writing this but simply could not watch that without somehow reaching out to connect.

    So many emotions brought forth in watching the footage.

    First and foremost was your ability to literally reach out from the screen and touch anyone who sees this in a fundamental and powerful way. TBG has been front and center while you were recovering and brought mastery to his efforts unlike I could ever have even imagined was possible. But what I saw tonight in raw emotion, strength, articulateness and, most importantly, who you were for Christina, will indelibly add to her memory and also elevate you as a contributor to this planet's healing from this horrible shock.

    Your blog is a form of communication that enters though the head and permeates... this pierced the heart and left me enveloped in the promise that is possible in being there fully for our youth and in hope for what we can be in spite of those that are filled with hate.

    What was also fascinating to me was that I watched you without any sense of what your body must be experiencing but rather more whole and alive than ever before.

    Inspiration is an overused word but it comes from moving people to a new reality. This one interview has done that for me and I am very proud to have you as my friend.

    There were many extraordinary actors in this drama who rose to levels they may have thought not possible. Little Cuter, Sir, TBG, the Bride, and Seret each elevated their capacity beyond that which they have likely ever been called to perform before. You are indeed loved by those you knew loved you but you have also embraced and been embraced by your new community. "That's my Tucson", TBG said in one of the interviews and that should be a memorial T shirt to demonstrate how a community can rise above one madman's actions to show its collective humanity and belief in a better and more caring world

    We are not the things that happen to us ...but rather who we dig deep to be when those things occur.

    Pause to know that in this unspeakable act, the planet was moved to a potential for greater humanity and you were and are a messenger.

    Having said all of that, use that unfathomable strength to also carry your spirit through the incredibly challenging times ahead when there are no bright lights and heal quickly.

    I love you,
    Mr Dreamicake

  27. As i get older, i realized that i know even less than i thought i did...

    We all morn little Christina and the things that she had a passion for. And we morn what might have been had this tragedy not happened.

    I often try to understand tragedies but rarely do. I do know that this tragedy has once again brought all of us together...i just wish that we didn't have to loose little Christina for that to happen.

    Cherish your memories of your little friend and know that she now watches over all of us, wanting all of us to carry on, pay attention to politics and splash in puddles together.

    Much love....

  28. Hi,

    I just got an opportunity to read a news story about your interview the day after Christina was shot. First, I'm so, so sorry that you had to experience and witness such pain. But, more importantly, I need to respond to your comment that you weren't sure you could go on after Christina's loss. You've probably moved to a bit of a different place emotionally by now, but I want to say this to you, nonetheless. The light in little Christina's eyes was but a tiny flicker of her true light, which exists as beautiful and indestructible spirit energy. When Christina left that shell of a body, she was INSTANTANEOUSLY in the most magnificent place we will ever know and experience. And, yes, we ALL will one day behold the grandeur of our Creator, as we are all a part of Him. And when you next see Christina, the reunion will be so amazing!

    Never doubt for one second that Christina didn't have a chance to reach her potential here; on the contrary, she did more to impact the world in her short life, and death, than many of us will in our entire lives! God sent her to this earth with a specific mission and a purpose, and she carried it out. In the way of Jesus, she was sent here to shine and to die, that others might learn to live in love and compassion for one another. The rhetoric of hundreds of thousands of Americans softened as a direct result of the shooting incident, and that was meant to happen!

    Although our spirit beings are thrilled to no end by being on the other side, they do have concern for those they've left here to mourn them. That concern actually causes them to linger a bit. The greatest gift you can give to Christina and yourself right now is to say to her (out loud), "Christina, I LOVE YOU. I know you're still here with us even though we can't see you in physical form. Now go, bask in the warm embrace of our father! He's so proud of you, and I am, too!"

    If you have any doubts about the validity of what I'm imparting to you, please take a look at my personal blog, Take the link to the page of Christian Andreason. His story has transformed my spiritual life! I've read many a near-death tale, but his is, by far, the most compelling and reassuring. It will send you to bed with a smile on your face and a song in your spirit.

    Much love and peace to you and yours,
    Lemelia Bonner

  29. I can't even imagine what you are going through emotionally, but know this - you have good thoughts and prayers coming your way from across the U.S.

    You seem like a remarkably strong woman and your story has saddened yet INSPIRED a lot of people.

    Praying for a speedy recovery for you and the other victims of this horrendous tragedy.

  30. I'm a fellow BlogHer member and was informed of your situation by one of the editors at BlogHer. I am not sure how to convey my feelings to you other than to say I am sending along many prayers and good wishes for your recovery and that of your family and all of the victims of this terrible tragedy. You are an inspiration to many of us who watched with the world...the memorial ceremony on tv. My heart goes out to you.

  31. The words have all been said, but i simply needed to tell you that you did absolutely everything right, for the right reasons, for the absolutely right little girl who lived knowing more about the beauty of the world in her short years because of you. love mary phoenix az

  32. Thank you for this beautiful post. Am so happy you are recovering and hoping something positive can emerge from this tragedy.

  33. I am not usually this slow. I have been a longtime reader of Nance's blog, and wandered over to yours when she said a blogging friend of hers was one of those shot is Tucson. I read several of your posts.
    Now, today, I come here and suddenly go--DOH! Light bulbs going off in my brain, I finally figured out who you are.
    Having seen you talking on the national news, I am so impressed with how strong you sound, even as your heart is breaking breaking breaking.
    As someone who befriends the lovely children in our neighborhood, I can so see myself taking one of them somewhere. I know that is part of why your story touches something so deeply in me, in many of us.

  34. I just watched Dateline...Thank you for sharing your story there, and here. My husband heard the shots that hit you, and Christina, and the others from our back yard. And from that moment, we have been devastated that this happened on our corner. Christina was a lucky girl to have a such a special friend in you. As a Mama to two young boys, I hope they are lucky to develop a special friendship with a trusted adult as well...what a wonderful gift!

    Wishing you well...

  35. Linda from A Slower Pace sent me here from a link on her blog. I read back on your blog to the time of the shooting to put your story together. I can't believe how together you sound after all you have been through.
    May the healing continue.

  36. Nance is right about your writing and although it's a crazy and unfortunate way to get more exposure, you are getting some well-deserved extra readership.


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