His Name Was Logan #Rereverb

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I woke up in the middle of the night last night. This isn’t unusual.  It’s a bad habit that I’ve gotten into, and it explains why you will often see posts on Facebook or Twitter at two or three in the morning.

Last night, I started googling.  I was looking for a name, and I found it and so much more.

On February 23rd, I was just leaving a client lunch and on my way back to the office.  My phone rang, and it was Ben.  Ben never calls me unless something is wrong and he needs to talk.

He had been out delivering parts for his job with a transmissions distributor.  He works there part time for a family friend, on days when he is not in school.  He is going through EMT training and will be going to through the fire academy in the fall.  

As he was driving down Bell Road, a busy main street here in town, a guy flew past him on a motorcycle.  The guy was going at least eighty.  A couple of miles down the road, Ben came to a an intersection, just after the accident.  A car had turned left in front of the cyclist, and he’d crashed directly into the passenger side.  The car ended up facing the opposite direction it had been traveling, behind the light pole, in a ditch.  The motorcycle and the rider had stopped right at the point of impact.

Ben pulled over and jumped out.  He ran to the rider and put his hand on the guy’s shoulder, saying, “Buddy..hey, Buddy?  Are you ok?”

He could see that the rider clearly wasn’t alright.  The guy was curled up at an odd angle, with his chest flat to the ground, and his hips turned funny.

Ben carefully braced him, and rolled him over.  He checked for vitals, as he’s been trained, and began CPR.  

As other people came running up, they asked if Ben knew what he was doing.  He said that he was CPR certified and training to be an EMT.  He had one man get his keys from his pocket, to move his truck.  Another person pulled out Ben’s phone to call 911, though they’d already been called.  Ben kept up CPR until another man approached, and said that he was an ER tech.  He offered to take over CPR, and Ben held C-Spine.  

Emergency crews arrived and they got the driver loaded onto a gurney.  As they were wheeling him to the ambulance, someone said, “We’ve still got a heartbeat…not much; but, it’s there.”

They were still doing CPR as they drove away.

It was later, when we were talking at home that Ben told me more.

The rider was young…Ben said he couldn’t have been more than early 20s.  He was wearing protective gear, including a helmet; but, he must have hit the car face first, as the glass of the helmet had shattered and cut his face badly.  His teeth had gone through his lower lip.

Everything…everything was broken.  His arms and legs, his back, his pelvis, his neck…Ben said that when he was doing CPR, the kid’s chest was just mush and he could hear bones making noises.

Ben talked about looking into the rider’s eyes, and seeing them dim…he said it was surreal.

In his EMT class the following Monday, his teacher and the paramedic speaker/evaluator talked about how situations like this are actually pretty rare.  A typical shift doesn’t include traumatic events like this one.

We saw on the news that night that the motorcyclist had not survived.  There were pictures of the accident, showing the car in the ditch and the crumpled wreckage of the bike.  Ben had to scrub and scrub to get the blood out from under his nails.

There were two other things that the rider had with him.  Ben said that in the jacket, there was paperwork from Ride Now.  Ride Now is a bike shop a couple of miles from the accident.  The bike was brand new.  On his helmet, a Go Pro was still running, recording everything.

With all of this, I kept thinking about the kid’s family.  Somebody got a phone call, telling them that their kid wasn’t coming home.  This has been stuck in my head for the past couple of weeks.  I’ve gotten phone calls after accidents…thankfully, they have turned out very differently.  Some mom wasn’t so lucky.

News stories about the accident hadn’t been updated with the rider’s name; but, in Google, it gave a name as a related search.  It took me to Facebook, and a life began to emerge.

His name was Logan.  

He was twenty years old, and he had a dad, a mom, and a sister who adored him.  He had lots of friends and they all ride bikes, too.  There was a celebration of life for Logan last weekend, at his dad’s house.  On one of the walls in the house, there was a big picture of Logan.  People wrote messages of love, attached other pictures, left flowers…the whole wall is now covered with tributes to a life cut short.   

His dad shared text messages from Logan…sweet words between a father and a son.  

They didn’t have a viewing, because Logan was just too broken.

It seems macabre, looking at all of this stuff in the middle of the night; but, the mom in me recognizes how lucky I am.  My children are living, breathing, working, playing…I just needed to know.

His name was Logan.

Dipping my toes back into #Rereverb

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Wow.  It’s been a long time since I’ve been here.  There was some housekeeping to be done, that’s for sure.

I’m not quite sure what this space is going to look like.  The old blog doesn’t really suit me anymore.

The last time that I was in here, I was waxing emotional about the new Star Wars movie, awash in nostalgia.  That was over a year ago, and I haven’t done much writing since.  I’ve focused on drawing, taking part in several small challenges, and the Post It Note doodles sort of took on a life of their own.

For a long stretch, the blog was a great outlet during a scary, stressful part of my life.  I’m so grateful for the support that was showered on my and on my family by the amazing friends that this blog brought into my life.  I was regularly in contact with so many wonderful people.

And, then I just shut it off.  As I’m sitting here, putting together this post, I recognize that this is a pattern with me.  I open up for a while, share parts of me that don’t often see the light of day, and then I turn everything off and move on to something else.

I did it in junior high, after my stepdad committed suicide.  I had regular appointments with my school counselor several days a week.  After about a month’s worth of appointments, talking, talking, talking…I couldn’t do it anymore.  My counselor later moved to the high school, and I stopped in one day during my junior year to say hello.

“Do you remember the last time that you came into my office?” she asked.

I shook my head.  I had no memory of our last encounter.

“You walked into my office for an appointment.  You didn’t sit down.  You very politely, very firmly, informed me that you would not be coming for any more appointments.  You were done talking.”

I never did go back.  I learned later that just deciding not to talk about things anymore doesn’t mean that you don’t have to deal with them.  Feelings, emotions, trauma…all those things tend to rear their ugly heads if you don’t process them correctly; but, I do have a bad habit of letting people and things go.

So, this blogging group will be an interesting experiment.  I didn’t participate in the various iterations of Reverb that have popped up because I just felt that I’d answered the same questions before.

And, yet…look how much has changed…with me, with my family, my job, my community, and in the world at large.

There just may be a few things to talk about here after all.

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An Unexpected Christmas Gift #starwars #nospoilers

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I have always loved Star Wars.

In the summer of 1977, I was nine years old.  We were in Massachusetts, visiting my grandmother.  My godparents, Liz and Sarkie, and my brother’s godfather, Butch, lived right next door to her and owned several movie theaters and drive-ins around the area of Haverhill, MA.  It was a foregone conclusion that we would go to the movies at least once while we were back there.

On a warm, muggy August night, my parents piled my brothers and I into Butch’s Trailblazer, along with Butch’s son, Brucie David.  We headed to one of the drive-ins to see a movie..any movie.  We had no idea what we were in for.  

It took a few minutes to really figure out what was going on.  A drive-in, after all, is not the best place to sit and get lost in a movie.  Once the lasers started firing, and Darth Vader came stalking in through the smoke, black cape billowing behind, we were transfixed.  I would bet that was the first time during that whole trip that my brothers and I sat quietly, probably with our mouths open just a bit.

When we got back to Phoenix, I talked of nothing else, until my cousins finally convinced my aunt to take them to see it.

That was it.  It only took one viewing to turn Star Wars into our obsession.  My cousin, Tom, and I were hooked.

My mom has said that she never understood my fascination with Star Wars, and she couldn’t understand why I was so excited about the new version that came out yesterday.  In trying to explain, I said that at nine, Star Wars became the toys we played with, the trading cards we bought, and what we played at recess.  It was on the tee shirts we wore, on the lunch boxes we carried, and completely took over our little kid brains.  We wanted to BE Han Solo.  We wanted to fight with the princess and learn the ways of the Force.  There were spaceships, and creatures, and sword fights, and heroes.  And, yes…at ten, I was a tomboy.  I thought Han Solo was the COOLEST.  I dressed as Princess Leia for Halloween; but, Solo was IT.

It’s similar to how kids today are swept up in all things Marvel, or Frozen.  I mean, geez…you can’t go anywhere without seeing a miniature Spider-Man or a little Elsa walking around.  We just had less “stuff” and fewer product tie-ins than kids do today.  We had to work a little harder to find ways to feed our imaginations.  I’m pretty sure that George Lucas can be thanked for the marketing overkill we have today.

Through the years, my love for Star Wars never faltered, though I grew less obvious about it.  Occasionally, in conversation with a co-worker, I’ll drop a random Star Wars quote, and it always fascinates me to see a face light up in recognition.  Ah…a fellow nerd!

When the prequels came out, Dave and I took our kids, eagerly anticipating a return to that experience from our childhood. Though they were fine, they didn’t capture us the same way that the original movies did.  I know that I came away a bit melancholy.  Perhaps it was time to let go.

When it was announced that there would be a new trilogy, set after the original three, I was interested, but wary.  Then, JJ Abrams was announced as the director, and a little spark of hope flashed.  He’d done a good job rebooting the Star Trek franchise.  Could he do the Star Wars universe justice?  Dave is a Star Trek fan…he edges slightly more toward the Star Wars camp, though.  This is a good thing.  I’m pretty sure that though we disagree on many things, including politics, religion, music, television shows, and DC vs. Marvel, our marriage would not survive a Star Wars vs. Star Trek argument.

Production began, and casting was announced.  Our original heroes were returning.  I started to get excited.  Really excited.

When previews started coming out, I found that even the Lucasfilm logo was enough to take my breath away in anticipation.  The release date was announced and we toyed with the idea of getting our tickets in advance; but, we didn’t want to stand in huge lines to wait to see it.  Maybe we’d savor the anticipation and see it on Christmas weekend or for Dave’s birthday, New Year’s Eve.  The more times I watched the preview, or drew doodles of characters, the more I wanted to see the movie.

Yesterday, Marcie stopped by the office after lunch, and said, “Let’s shut down!”  We have worked so hard this year, and we finished our last renewal with time to spare.  Our goal for this year was to have the holidays off.  I hadn’t been sure that we could pull it off.  This time last year, we were still buried.  We will take next week off,the first time we could take time for Christmas.

I called Dave as I left the office, feeling good and wanting to celebrate.  I suggested that we might consider checking to see if any tickets were available.  Dave was tired after a long overnight shift, so he said he’d think about it.  I didn’t push; but, I hoped he would be up for it.  I hung up and called my mom.

By the time I got home, he had purchased two tickets for the 6:20 showing.  Suddenly, I was breathless…excited and nervous.  We took off for the theater, thinking we would still have to stand with a crowd, and that we’d have to fight for decent seats.  At the theater, though, there were maybe twenty people in line for our showing and the Harkins staff was almost done cleaning the theater from the previous screening.  I got in line while Dave headed to the snack bar.  In front of me stood a guy my age wearing a Rebel fighter jacket, with his two kids.  The son had a Stormtrooper jacket and the daughter had a Star Wars tee shirt on.  Behind me, a family walked up, the son carrying a Darth Maul double light saber.  I chatted with the kid doing crowd control, asking him if he’d seen the movie yet.  He shook his head ruefully, and said that Disney doesn’t allow advance showings for theater workers…that stinks!

I’d only been in line a couple of minutes when they let us into the theater.  I called to Dave, still standing at the concession counter, and told him I’d get seats.  Happily, our favorite seats, right in front of the rail, were wide open.  A good omen.  Dave joined me and we settled in, anxiously making predictions about what we’d see.  Finally, the previews started.  Five previews, not one that interested me.  Then, it was time.

From the very first scroll, I was transfixed.  It’s a long movie…over two hours, and I never fidgeted once.  I couldn’t see enough.  It was everything I had hoped for, with some really good surprises, and a return of humor that had been missing from the prequels.  There was one prediction that I’d made, and I turned to Dave at the end and said, “This is one time it sucks to be right.”  There were moments throughout where I realized that I was glad I’d hung on to my napkins…I cried a lot …tears of joy, tears of shock, tears of sadness and horror, and tears in the release of such tremendous anticipation.

Look.  I know it’s just a movie; but, as I stood in the lobby afterwards, waiting for Dave, I found that I couldn’t stop crying.  It was like I had been given the gift of being nine years old again, before life had kicked me in the teeth a few times.  It was a return to the innocence of youth, a return to the joy of seeing a movie you know nothing about, a return of your heroes…like old friends.  And, now, we have new friends…new heroes, new favorites.  I’m so glad.  

We are going to see it again.  Ben didn’t go with us last night; because he’d already made plans with his friends. We won’t see it this weekend, but definitely durning the next week.

I’m sitting here this morning, still weepy. When you build something up in your head, usually you find yourself disappointed. There are so many bad things in this world…so much stress and worry.  To be able to lose yourself in something that gives you some relief from that?  What a gift.  If that makes me a nerd, I accept the title gladly.

Star Wars:  The Force Awakens is not a perfect movie; but, it’s the perfect Christmas gift for me.