Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘survivors’

     Ok, I am going to rant a bit for a minute.  Twice this week the news has hit us with two terrible stories about families that self-destructed through murder-suicide.  Two families that were destroyed.  One family in particular left a suicide note allegedly saying that the reason they were dead was because both the husband and the wife lost their jobs…were in debt…and were rejected by their employers.  The other family’s reasons have not yet been announced.  The family members allegedly say that there was no clues to this tragedy.  What i want to know is…can we stop families from hurting the ones that they love?  Yes we can, encourage them to seek help:  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  Each time something like this happens…those who were lost leave behind friends, family members, neighbors, acquaintances and community members who are hurt, confused and saddened.   We have to take care of each other and learn to be more in tune with those around us.  (more…)

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

     For those who have not heard the news story this past week; a man by the name of Bruce Pardo dressed up as Santa and went on a shooting rampage directed at his ex-wife and her family.  He was aware that they held an annual Christmas party.  He had been planning this for quite some time.   About a week or so before the shootings took place…Bruce Pardo and his estranged wife,  Sylvia, were officially divorced after 2 years of marriage.  This man who dressed up as Santa, needed help.   If he had gotten it…maybe this tragedy would not have happened.

        It sounds as if  the Pardo’s marriage was one of deceipt.  Mr. Pardo had not disclosed to his wife that he had a child from a previous relationship that he did not see, nor did he help support.  It seems that when this child was a toddler in Mr. Pardo’s care; the child ended up in a pool and almost drowned.  The young child is now around the age of 7 ; but, Bruce Pardo kept this child a secret from his wife.  She discovered that the child existed by going through tax papers and finding out that he claimed the child as a dependent.  He denied the situation and Sylvia called her mother in law who confirmed that a child did in fact exist and was disabled.   She filed for divorce…he did not want it.

       It seems that during this time…Bruce also lost his job and then was ordered, by the court, to pay support to his soon to be ex-wife.  By all appearances…Bruce did his best to follow through on the court’s dissolution of his marriage….yet, all along he planned his revenge on the woman who divorced him and those who were closest to her and helped her to leave him. 

        Bruce rented two vehicles and he had things planned out.  He had an extra large Santa suit made up for him.  It seems that at the annual party, Santa always showed up.  He went to the home with a gift in his hand…when the door was opened by a young 8 year old girl…he opened fire, shooting her in the face.  He then went about shooting and looking for specific people.  After he shot the people he went looking for…he then used a homemade device to set the home on fire; inadvertantly causing himself 3rd degree burns when part of the Santa suit melted into his skin from the incendiary device he used to start the fire.

         People in the home had tried to hide and some were able to flee.  A sister of Sylvia’s escaped to a neighbors with the young 8 year old girl who was shot in the face.  She was able to call 911.  After starting the fire, Bruce Pardo shot out street lights…allegedly to help further his escape. 

         People are speculating that he had plans to shoot his own mother who was planning on attending the Christmas party, at her ex-daughter in laws parents home.  She felt ill that evening and was not able to attend.  Bruce blamed his mother for siding with Sylvia in the divorce.    Also allegedly a possible victim of violence was the divorce lawyer who represented Sylvia.  One of the rental vehicles was sitting near the lawyers home. 

        It appears that Bruce changed his plans after he was burned.  It is thought that he was in great pain.  He allegedly had purchased a plane ticket for Illinois to go there and cross the state line into Iowa to see a friend.  He also had about 17,ooo.oo dollars plastic wrapped to his body.   Instead of implementing those plans…he drove approximately 30-40 miles to his brothers home and broke in and shot himself dead.

         What is hard to understand is; didn’t anyone who knew him or had occasion to spend time with him, during the weeks preceding the violence, see his mental breakdown?  Was he so good at hiding his wrath that he was able to misleed the people in his life?  Or did he isolate himself a this time?

         Those familiar with the divorce situation say that he seemed almost eager to have it over with.  The neighbors say that he was friendly and even wished them a Merry Christmas after telling them he was attending a Christmas party. 

          People who knew him said he was a friendly guy.  They are shocked.  And yet, a close friend of Sylvia allegedly said that Sylvia said he changed almost immediately after the marriage.  He became secretive.  Others say that Bruce had a secret guilt about the child that was gravely injured on his watch.  The mother of the child allegedly says that he was involved when the child was in the hospital; but then…he didn’t visit nor did he support the child.  In fact, he kept the child a secret from many…including his new wife.

         The thing is…people who struggle with mental health issues dont always get the help that they need.  Bruce Pardo needed that kind of help to cope with the feelings that he had from the tragedy that happened to his child.  He needed support and counseling to heal up from the guilt that he most likely felt after the child was injured.  He needed to have pre-marital counseling to help him break the news of this part of his life to his intended wife. 

          Sylvia needed a husband who could share this past with her.  She needed him to seek marriage counseling when their marriage appeared to flounder shortly after it began.  She needed some indication that the man she married was deeply disturbed and capable of such violence.  She needed protection from the man that she fell in love with. 

          Experts will tell you that people who are in a state of flux…or life changes are often the most vulnerable for domestic violence.  This is a dangerous time when emotions are raw and assets or custody rights are at stake.  Passions are running high.  It should almost  be mandatory to have to have some sort of counseling to help people through the maze of emotion and legal wrangling that takes place.

          I can’t help but to think of those that lost their lives and those who were left behind to deal with the aftermath.  God help them.  The things that they saw and heard will live with them for a very long time.  And what about those who weren’t there; but, were directly affected such as Bruce Pardo’s mother or his brother.  What about them?  People need to pray for all of them.  They are not responsible for his actions…and yet, they are directly affected by them as much as Sylvia’s family and friends.  His brother…can you imagine…how will he ever be able to go back into his home?  He has to wonder…why did his brother come there to commit suicide?   His mother…she was obviously friendly with Sylvia and her family; how will she relate to the surviving members?  They are all hurting…will they be able to help support one another or will it be too painful for them to see each other?

          So many questions and so few answers.  The thing is…unfortunately…people who are depressed or going through trauma often don’t think past the moment, about the long term effects of their actions.  It is the survivors that are left to cope with both the questions and the answers.

Read Full Post »

        Dina Gottliebova Babbitt is a woman who has a rich history; she was in the concentration camp, Auschwitz with her mother in 1944.  Dina was a 20 something, young woman who had an artistic talent.  She had been an art student before she was sent to Auschwitz.  While in the camp, she decided to do something daring and she painted Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the walls of the children’s barracks, in an attempt to cheer them up.  This was bravery, as the consequences would be severe if she was caught.

         When it was discovered what she had done…she was called before Dr. Mengele who was also known as the Angel of Death in the camp.  She could have been sent to the gas chamber like so many others were.  Instead, she was ordered by Dr. Josef Mengele to paint portraits for him of the gypsies in the camp; as well as, to draw pictures of the many horrible “medical experiments” that he performed on those who were imprisoned in the camp.  Dina thought for many years that the portraits of the gypsies were destroyed.  It was in performing the artwork in the camp that her life and that of her mother were spared.

       In fact the portraits were not destroyed…they were sold to the Auschwitz-Burkenau State Museum after the war ended.  There are seven watercolor portraits of the gypsies; and, Dina Babbitt would like them returned.  Dina says that she feels that neither she, nor the gypsies can have spiritual freedom unless the portraits are returned to her.  I would imagine that Dina poured her soul into those portraits.  After all, how can you look upon such individuals, knowing their probable fate, and trace their very visage upon the canvas; and, not be one with them in spirit?   She has much support internationally; however, at this point, the museum allegedly refuses to return them.  You can write to the museum here in support of Dina:  muzeum@auschwitzorg.pl .

          You can also visit Dina’s website to learn more about her and see some of her work here: http://www.dinababbitt.com/  .

           After WWII, Dinah was hired as an assistant to Art Babbitt who was working for Warner Brother’s in Paris at the time; and, who was a former Disney animator who worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  They fell in love and later married, Dina was Art’s second wife.  Together they raised two daughters, Michele and Karin.  At least some good came out of such an evil time in history.  Their love and marriage I am sure  brought about a healing balm.  After all, Dina used the images of the talented animator to soothe the young children, who daily faced death daily in the concentration camps.  It is as if God himself sent a bit of the comforter to them thru Dina and the artistry of two talented artists.

           Dina was born on January 21, 1923 in Czechoslovakia, but, is now a U.S. citizen.  Just as recently as this past  summer of 2008, Dina was diagnosed with an aggressive tumor in her abdomin and was scheduled to have surgery performed to remove it.  It is her most fervent desire to have her portraits returned to her so that she can hold them in her hands one more time before she passes away.  She would like to see the portraits visit the Holocaust museums in the United States!  Please feel free to contact her family to help support their cause of the return the portraits to a woman who risked much to bring a smile to the children of Auschwitz; here is an email address:  michele@dinababbitt.com  or mushkane@yahoo.com

         This time in history can never be forgotten or denied.  If by looking into the faces of the victims of the concentration camps helps to make it real…then Dina Gottliebova Babbitt has used her talents in a very serviceable way.   Those portraits bring the horrible cost of forgetting that those who are different from us are still human and deserve to live life to it’s fullest.  It should not be up to another individual or organization to get to decide who should live and who should die.  We must uphold the lessons learned from setting back and waiting for the world to right itself in the area of human rights.  May the powers that be bring Dina’s portraits home to her, to soothe her heart and her soul.

Read Full Post »

       September 11th used to be just another day.  Then, it became my son’s brother’s birthday.  Nine years later…September 11th became something else.  September 11th, 2001 became the day of the destruction of American innocence.  It became a day controlled by terrorists and their plot of destruction.  It became a day of horror and fear.  It became a day of mourning.  Then, it became a day of rememberance. 

         Each year the day brings anxiety, fear, sadness and depression…but it also, becomes a measure of time.  It becomes, almost a before and after measure in our country and in our lives.  The military men and women, the everyday people who traveled on the jets, the business people who worked in the World Trade Center, the people on the street…every life that was lost was precious; and the grief never becomes anything less than what it should be!  The grieving process is different for everyone…but, it is the bridge from a place of denial to an acceptance of a life that has been changed, due to a loss of the life of a loved one.  At some point, you either become a person cocooned in pain and loss or you move towards a place of healing and acceptance.

        How much time has passed since that tragic day.  How many things have those people who’s names are called out in the roll-call missed.  How many sons and daughters have marked milestones in their lives without parents?  How many spouses have witnessed holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, births & deaths without their partners by their side to support them?  How many parents, grandparents, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends have been forced to bear witness to life without those who were such a part of their lives?

          For those who have valiantly tried to heal from the deep wounds of September 11th; some have found some way of marching into the future…one difficult footstep at a time.  Others have been forever stuck in that moment of loss.  For those who have been able to move forward painfully…there is no lack of a sense of guilt, for surviving and beginning to enjoy the blessings in life again. 

          Each milestone of survival is marked by loss…that can’t be forgotten; and yet, to choose not to enjoy what’s left in life to enjoy; is a slap in the face to those who’s lives were lost.  Which of them, if given a choice would choose to live a life without thanksgiving, without joy, without celebration… of all the good things before them; if they were able to live again?  It does those who were lost no honor, to allow the terrorists to have more “dead” victims than they already stole from the world.

          So while we honor those who were lost…let’s not forget those who were left behind to survive.  Let’s honor the loved ones, of those who were lost in the attack.  At some point, peeling back the scab over and over again can only serve to prevent long-term healing.  When, might September 11th become just another day again?  Can it ever become just another day…probably not?  Should it ever become something else besides an acknowledgement of the terrorists deeds?  Or are we forever bound by loss and respect to the lives lost, to always carry the scar of history ?  Is it possible to take back some of the power that the terrorists stole from us by reclaiming that day as just another day?

Read Full Post »

         Are you safe and warm; do you have food to eat and clean water to drink where you are?  You are blessed.  China is in the middle of a mass of miracles and mourning after the earthquake this past week.   Families are suffering; and, grieving losses of people and possessions.  Many are without a safe place to live.  This devastation is large scale and overwhelming to those in need as well as to the aid workers. 

         Getting clean water, food and shelter to all those who have need is no easy task.  Adding the additional strain of flooding from rivers, streams and lakes that have been blocked by debris and backed up water flow; only makes getting aid supplies into remote areas more difficult.

         In a country that encourages a family practice of having one birth child, it has a significant impact because, the earthquake has taken the future from many families.  Many have honored the Chinese government’s policy to only have one birth child to cut down on the over-population problem.  Since this earthquake brought down many schools, hospitals and other institutions that housed children…the impact has devastating, life-long consequences on China’s infrastructure.

           Those most vulnerable are the elderly and the young children.  The future can be bleak for those who only had one child to care for them in their elder years.  If they are past the age of child bearing…this can bring an end to their family line. 

          In the center of all of this madness, the Olympics are to be held in China in 81 days.  The International Olympic Committee has decided to pause the torch relay out of respect for the victims.  There will also be three days of national mourning, starting on Monday.  

           There have been stories of miracles; people who have been buried, under debris and rubble since the quake, who have overcome the circumstances and survived.  There will be many such stories as communications improve and time goes on.  One man in particular survived 139 hours trapped in rubble from a hospital and came away with minor bruising.  

           Each miracle brings hope to the hearts of those who have missing loved ones; as experts have said that, a person could survive in these conditions for up to a week as long as they had some access to water and the temperatures were at a survivable level. 

      

Read Full Post »