Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How Do You Say Goodbye?

Last week I had to say goodbye to a loved one. Sunday night (September 16th) I received a phone call letting me know that my great aunt had passed away, and while I was shocked, it was hardly shocking news. My aunt, Josephine, had suffered from dementia for the past three and a half years, and for as long as I can remember her life had been peppered with various health ailments. She had been mourning the loss of her husband for the past ten years and had been looking forward to joining him.

She was a woman who devoted her life to her family. She raised my father and his sister, my aunt Cindy, so that my grandmother could work. She took care of me and my cousins so that our mothers could work as well. She loved her pets (dogs, cats, birds, and whatever strays wandered into the yard), she was a great cook, collected angels, and was hooked on her soap operas.

So how do you say goodbye to someone who played such a major role in your life? I probably spent 90% of my childhood at her house, she was there the day I was born, she was there when I graduated from high school and college, and every important event in my life. She held my hand when I was sick or scared, and she shared my joy on some of my happiest days.

So how do you say goodbye? Maybe you don't. Maybe you just celebrate the life they lived and know that they're finally where they want to be. You are relieved that they are no longer in pain. You realize that you will miss them and that holidays won't be the same without them, but at the same time they're never really completely gone as long as you hold them in your heart. They're never gone as long as when you think of them it brings a smile to your face. It's never goodbye, it's always thank you for loving me and I'll see you on the other side.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Where were you?

Eleven years ago today I was still living at home and getting ready to start California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) in a week. I wasn't working at the time and I was supposed to stay home to supervise the crew reflooring my parents' house.

I remember my mom bursting into my room way before I was planning on waking up and being irritated, until she told me that a plane had just crashed into the World Trade Center in NYC. I was still half asleep and didn't understand what she was telling me, how could a plane fly into a building like that by accident?

Except it wasn't an accident.

And then another hit the second tower, and a 3rd hit the pentagon and a 4th crashed into some field after the passengers revolted. I remember being transfixed by CNN, I couldn't tear myself away from the screen. How could this happen? Here? Will we ever be safe again?

Eleven years later I still get chills when I think of that day, I still get teary eyed when I hear the Star Spangled Banner, and I am so proud to be an American. I might disagree with some of our policies, but I am glad I live in a country where I have the right to vote to change the things I don't agree with.

The people who tried to bring us down as a nation eleven years ago failed. That event did not tear us apart, it brought us closer together as many tragedies will do. I wish we could find that spirit of cooperation and cohesiveness again without having to face a similar crisis.

Thank you to all the first responders who risked everything to save those trapped in the towers. To the ones who didn't make it out, you are missed and will never be forgotten. To those who lost loved ones, your grief is shared by an entire nation.

To those who continue to serve and protect, you are the real heroes and your country is proud.

Where were you eleven years ago? How did you respond?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

On Political Ground... A Quick Opinion Piece

Its an election year folks, and that means things are about to get ugly. Whether you live in a red or blue state or lean to the left or right, everyone seems to have an opinion of who is the better leader of our country. My focus here isn't to tell you who to vote for, your political affliations aren't my business, much like your religion or your sex life. What I am going to talk about, and maybe get a real conversation started, is about how American (and maybe the world, my scope of experience is pretty limited) Politics is completely disgusting and we need to change our process if we're ever going to make it a better country and do our part to better the world.

In my opinion a politician should put the people of his (I'm just going to use the pronoun "his" for the sake of keeping things to the point, I fully support women in politics) country before special interest groups. He should protect the Constitution above any religions, even his own. Freedom of Religion also gives his constituents a Freedom FROM Religion that should be protected just as vigoriously. When science makes break throughs that could save the lives of millions it shouldn't be discouraged because The Church finds it "icky" and "against God's plan." People say that the United States was founded as a Christian nation and they look at our Pledge of Allegiance as an example, however a quick glance at wikipedia will tell you that the section that states that we are one nation "under God" wasn't even added until 1954, when the Pledge was originally written in the 1892 and many of our founding father's didn't even believe in organized religion. George Washington wasn't a Christian by today's standards... does that mean he was a bad president?

Freedom of Speech comes at a cost. This means sometimes you have to hear things that you don't like or may not fit your "One Million Moms" mold, but if you can speak out, so can your opposition. Assholes like the West Borough Baptist Church have just as much of a right to protest on public grounds as the "Occupy Wall Street," and "Pro-Life/Choice" movements. Are any of their opinions morally, logically, ethically correct? It's your opinion against mine. It doesn't really matter, as long as they are behaving in a non-violent manner they have the right to make their voices heard. If we silence one of them, we have to silence them all.

I feel like politicians should stick to the issues at hand (health care, welfare, unemployment, national debt, on going wars in the Middle East, etc.) and tell us what their plan is to fix it, instead of telling me why their opposition is wrong. Tell me why you are the best man for the job and not why the other guy is a loser. Show me your intelligence without stooping to name calling. Prove to me that you're honest without telling me that everyone else is a lying crook. I want to be inspired, I want to pick the best possible candidate, not the lesser of two evils.