While visiting with family this past weekend, my cousin insisted we stop and experience the Oklahoma City National Memorial at night - a memorial dedicated to remembering each and every soul taken on April 19, 1995.
What follows after can become a blur but you remember exactly where you were, what you were doing and who you were with when your paths intersect.
(I was a junior at the University of Oklahoma. I was alone watching t.v. in my university apartment getting ready to go to a morning class - which of course was cancelled.)
The experience of that moment was as stunning, intense and emotional as the experience of the monument. Here's what i captured:
The field of empty chairs, 168 bronze and stone chairs, some small in representation of the children and others large for the adults.
The tree, an Elm, witnessed the violence and now symbolizes resilience, while the reflecting pool is representative of healing calmness.
It's been 9 years since the death of our mother and 12 since the death of his mother, our aunt. And while yes, the initial shock of grief has worn off, the void left by their departure is still noticeable and present.
(Interesting factoid: They both died at the young age of 53 and they both named their first born, Kerrie (right) / Kerry (left).)
I am happy to say that life does get better. You will be happy again. The profound wound caused by of death develops a scab and the piercing pain experienced from grief becomes less, raw.
(It was early in the morning. I was coming home from dancing. My cell phone rang; i answered. The rest really is a blur...)