Tuesday, March 1, 2011

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

She was a bright spot on a cloudy day.

She was full of joy and love and laughter and mischief.

She loved her family and her country and her friends.

She was a baller, a dancer, a gymnast.

She was.

Our town, our neighborhood, our families weep.

We feel powerless and empty and the need to do something anything grows and grows and grows.

Some of us took steps to make something wonderful happen, something that would honor and celebrate her life, something that would put the smiles back on our faces.

She would want that.  We know that she would, because her father told us so.  Through his grief, through his tears (held back, perhaps,  because he knew that we would all follow him down that drippy path) he reminded us that she wouldn't want to see long faces.  And so we smiled.  It wasn't easy, but if he could do it then so could we.

We walked under a balloon arch - a red white and blue arch because she was a patriot who lost her life while participating in American democracy.  She wasn't in Tahrir Square; she was at a grocery store on the northwest side of Tucson, Arizona, USA.  She was supposed to be safe. 

Our President asked us to join together to create the America that she saw every day.  This was a small step in that direction.

There were cameramen and reporters because this is the 21st century and people need to know... right now.... everything.... anything.... it has to be recorded.

Her parents spoke to them.  I spoke to them.  TBG watched it all, being certain that nothing went awry.  There wasn't a dry eye amongst us.

Dignitaries made dignified remarks and her church's children's choir made their eponymous Joyful Noise as they sang America the Beautiful and This Land is Your Land and missed their little friend.... who would have been singing along with them.... had she been there.

Her brother cut the ribbon with the largest pair of shears he'd ever held
and then the park was open

The Christina-Taylor Green Memorial River Park.  A place for running and bicycling and strolling and dog walking.  Three point two miles of landscaped pavement, going under the roads and next to the wash with an overpass designed by the brother of the woman who staunched my wounds as I lay on the concrete, holding the hand of the girl for whom we were all gathered, trying to be as glad for the sunshine as she would want us to be.

The children grabbed them first, but there were enough balloons for all of us and one-two-three we let them fly

pink and purple, like her Peace and Justice sweatshirt she left on the front seat of my car
(sorry, Mom, she just didn't want to wear it)

flying together, the slackers racing to catch the leaders

each with the same card which adorned the cookies on our chairs

It was really a beautiful day in the neighborhood.
Mr. Rogers would have been proud of us.
I know that I was.
I'm pretty sure that Christina-Taylor is, too.


  1. I have walked there often when in Tucson because it's close to where I live. It's a nice place to have renamed for her. I like that idea better than the usual where they rename them for whoever recently donated money to building the park. This has more meaning to the community. She was the kind of little girl we all wanted to be, want our children and grandchildren to be.

  2. Such a great thing to do in remembrance of this special little girl--I am happy that it happened so quickly. I hope you will be able to enjoy walking there one day. xo

  3. Just the right thing to have done. A lovely legacy for a lovely girl and all connected to her.

  4. Heartbreaking and joyful/hopeful at the same time. Such a beautiful way to commemorate Christina's too short life. A place for "running and bicycling and strolling and dog walking" - and where, at the same time we exercise our body, we exercise our minds--we ponder ideas, that become words, that grow into actions, that can change the world.
    Fred and Christina are both smiling.

  5. A wonderful post that brought tears to my eyes. How nice it is to have something named for Christina, whose memory will live on.

    (I think it's great that I can comment now; I had to change the way my computer accepts cookies.)

  6. I'm grateful to Tucson residents such as you, who have allowed us to see the healing that continues in your community. Thanks for not leaving us with only the tragedy to remember.

    I look forward to reading your posts every day. Sometimes you write about your personal healing and I'm grateful you have allowed an 'outsider' to see that process. To appreciate the good being done these days it is necessary to also know of the pain.

    I hope you will continue to write about your experience, both the pain and the healing.

  7. Thank you for sharing this with us. I am so glad to hear that the community has done something so nice to remember such a promising young life, ended much to soon. http://hungrigyrl.bloogspot.com

  8. For all of us who have ever fallen in love with a child, this is almost too sad and beautiful to bear. May you walk that path yourself in the very near future...and then, soon thereafter, run that path with joy in your heart.

  9. Thanks for sharing. Your words so eloquently expressed on the news segment. What a gift to the community. Sending peace, love and healing your way... <3

  10. Thank you so very much for sharing this special day with us. It is not possible for me to attend events now or I would have been there.

    I am proud of Tucson for honoring this special child who was taken to suddenly and tragically.

    It is a lovely tribute and very appropriate for this active and enthusiastic child.

    Your tribute to Christina is just beautiful.

  11. Such a loving tribute to a lovely, joyful, high spirited patriotic little girl. Appreciate you sharing this wonderful day with us...debbie

  12. Absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing your day with us. Love the pink and purple balloons. Those are my daughter's favorite colors too. Brought a smile to my face, but an ache in my heart. Like those balloons, we all need to keep looking upward and onward--even if it's painful along the way.

    Megan xxx

  13. I woke up this morning thinking about the beautiful balloons and realizing that it had to be a hard day. I am still thinking about your challenge of what each of us can do. I read about the bells that started appearing around Tucson after wards . Is there a picture of those? I think about Christina a lot. She left us a very big fingerprint with her 9 years. .......Carol

  14. Young Christian has done more in her nine short years than many a ninety year old. That a wonderful tribute by the community and this post had me dripping tears all over my keyboard. Tears are salty and salt is healing. Take care.

  15. A beautiful remembrance of her!


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