12/09/2005

casualites

Last night Chicago received 9 inches of snow. At 7:15 p.m. a plane at Midway airport skidded off the runway on landing, broke through a barrier wall and rolled into traffic on a busy street. Surprisingly no one on the plane was injured but those on the street were not so lucky. Most were minor injuries but some were critical. It's amazing how the word 'serious' can be a positive thing when you add the word 'critical' as the alternative. I sat and watched the story unfold on the news eager for any bits of information I could obtain. I think we're all 'drama hungry' like that, wanting to watch other people's misery. Remember 9/11, of course you do, remember sitting in front of the TV for hours on end unable to tear yourself away from the images flashing across your screen? You were horrified, yet still you couldn't look away. You were angry, you were sad, but mostly you were a statue unable to move your arms and legs to carry you away from the horror coming through the airways. Have you ever driven past an accident and slowed down so you could see what happened? Why? Have you ever over-heard someone telling a tale of woe, and listened more intently to ensure you captured every detail? Why? Or are you one of those people that can turn away, turn off the TV, shut off the radio, not read the news headlines? What does that make you - self absorbed? The majority of the rest of the world thrives on trauma. Hurricanes, tsunami's, earthquakes, terrorists, fires, plane crashes - we have to watch, we have to know, what happened. Why? Will it make us stop and re-evaluate our lives and the importance of each person in it? Will it make us realize that life really is short and make us live each day to the fullest? Will it make us pick up the phone and call that friend we have not spoken to in years, just to say hello? Will it make us hug our children tighter, kiss our significant others more often, be kinder to our neighbor - will it change us? Maybe. Mostly it will make us sad for a moment but then our lives will pick back up exactly where they left off without anything changing at all. We're a breed that has compassion but often lacks the will power or strength or patience or desire - to turn that compassion into a daily chore. I can't point fingers or lay blame because I've practiced the same behavior. After 9/11 I remember telling myself that I would act differently, I'd be kinder, I wouldn't be in such a hurry - yet within a month I was back to my old ways. I pushed my way through crowds on the train, cursed at the other drivers while in traffic, wasn't any kinder to the butt kiss guy at work, stressed out because I didn't have enough time for all the things I wanted to fill my life up with, and forgot very soon how quickly life can be ripped out from under you. I wanted to change but I couldn't.

Last night a plane skidded off the runway at Midway airport, there were casualties but only one that made me right this post. A 6 year old boy was killed. Never again will he lay awake at night on Christmas eve anticipating Santa's visit, he won't experience a first kiss, a first love, a first anything. His parents will mourn his death and forever be missing a part of their hearts - one they will never be able to fill. He was taken from this world for no other reason than being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I sat there watching the news unable to tear myself away from the story unfolding. The news finally ended, as all stories do, and still I sat there watching the snow falling outside my front window. I sat there and I cried, for him, for me, for my own child. As I type this a lump forms in the back of my throat and I ache for that little boy. Part of me wants to feel that ache for the rest of the day, for tomorrow, for the next, until I change. I can promise myself that I'll be kinder to my neighbor, that I'll hug my child tighter, I'll appreciate my sig. other more - but promises are only wishes, not contracts. I'm not sure how to end this, how to make the next step I take mean something that lasts. I guess I'll do what my mom always taught me to do, try. Maybe if we all tried to be a better version of ourselves, every casualty would be something else besides an ending.

12 Comments:

  1. Caterpillar said...
    Wonderful post, NWC...and I think trying is the first step, and reminding ourselves often of why we want to try. And then slowly, in little ways and big ways, we'll become better people.
    NewYorkMoments said...
    I'm the kind of person who doesn't watch that stuff on TV. It doesn't necessarily mean that I'm self-absorbed. Well, OK, I am self-absorbed, but not for that reason. I just don't deal with with trauma and sadness, etc. I'll give to charity, but I don't need to continue to live & relive the horror on TV or in person. I was THERE on 9/11. And I also was there in the metro in Paris when a guy killed himself. I'll never forgive myself for looking at him. To this day I can't get that image out of my mind.
    k o w said...
    What a terrble accident. It's incidents like this that really make me question if there's some higher being looking down on us.
    Zoozan said...
    that was beautifully written

    9/11 sensitised me, and I find it difficult to watch anything about accidents/tsunamis anymore
    Chuck said...
    Sometimes these things make me weep and other times it's that sick feeling in your gut.

    Between this side of the Garden and heaven awful stuff happens. Sometimes they're large scale but everytime they're devastating.

    Although we have an incredible amount of exposure, we stay relatively insolated. So one of the things that I fear, beside being part of an accident like this, is not feeling anything. At what point do we get over-exposed and become numb?
    Networkchic said...
    Well Chuck, I guess it depends on how we let it all affect us, in a positive way or in a way that touches for a day. I don't think I'll ever feel numb, at least I hope I don't - then I'll assume I'm dead.
    kimmyk said...
    Stuff like this...I can't talk about it.

    I saw where that lil boy died..and his mom...my only thought was....i'm glad she died too.

    i'm not mean, i just know if my child died-please GOD take me with him.
    WDKY said...
    I can't even bear to think about children being hurt, or killed. It's too close to home, and Kimmy kind of summed up my own feelings about it.

    I'm not sure that we have a fascination with other peole's misery, as such. Maybe these things are actually like a reality check for us... and we all need a reality check now and then, don't we?
    check said...
    i read the last line of ur post thrice.. it just summed up everything so perfectly.. i think everyone should go back and read it again..
    Jaimie said...
    At first I thought this was a post about the cold weather of Chicago, and soon found out that it wasn't.

    This is why I don't watch the news. I stopped watching the news about 2 years ago. It made me anxious and depressed. And you are right-in some sick way, other's plights have become evening entertainment, without us even quite realizing it.

    Good post.
    NML said...
    Great post. That poor little boy and his family. I agree that the least line is brilliant.
    Joe said...
    That story has had me depressed for days now.

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