Wednesday, December 9, 2020

I Couldn't Go

There's a new memorial in downtown Tucson.  It commemorates the events of January 8. 2011 and those who helped and other important dates and people and peoples going all the way back to pre-history.  It includes an archive of mementos left in the various spontaneous memorials which popped up at the Safeway and in front of the Medical Center and at Gabby's office.  It includes a timeline of life in Tucson. It has improved the Pima County Courthouse plaza and the building itself.  

The project began as The January 8th Memorial and funds were raised for that purpose.  I understood the need that spawned it.  Those lost souls should never be forgotten.  The first responders and hospital personnel and the community that embraced us in the aftermath (and to this day) should be celebrated. I don't judge those who want to honor them.

The architectural renderings were gorgeous.  There's a broad, slanted walkway with names and engravings on the living walls, walls which grow higher the further down you go.  There are symbolic representations of those who died and those of us who survived, with our names, there for as long as the monument stands.

I don't understand why anyone would want to reward me for not bleeding to death on the sidewalk.

If GRIN could take center stage, I'd be delighted.  If Dr. Friese's call to public service after treating us were celebrated, I'd be thrilled.  If My Angel, Nurse Nancy, had an alcove all to herself, it still would not be enough to reward her.  

All I did that day was survive.  I couldn't save Christina-Taylor.  I didn't tackle the shooter.  I managed to dial my cell so TBG and CTG's mom could be called, but that's the extent of my heroism.  The people of Tucson who created those mementos, who smiled lovingly as I halted by, who actively came together as a community to heal.

That is what should be memorialized.  A lot of good came out of an agonizing experience.  A lot of strangers became lifelong friends.  Humans put themselves at risk to save others, and then faded into the background, not seeking publicity or kudos, having done what was needed and moved on.

We were invited to a private viewing before the grand unveiling next month.  Every request I made was granted.  The parking was free.  The weather was beautiful.

This morning, I woke up and decided.  I just couldn't go.

I didn't want to be in that emotional space.  I didn't want to spend all day preparing and the next few days recovering.  Without being able to cry on the shoulders of my fellow members of the club that no one wants to join, I couldn't see the point.  It's the connection, knowing what it was like in the moment, knowing that we are here and others are not and the why's and the pain can be assuaged, as much as it ever can be, by big, warm, long, deep hugs within our special group.

I'll go sometime.  Just not now.


  1. One day you'll wake up and know it's time to go. Until then listen to your heart.


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