December 22, 2017

Miss Cathy, also known simply as “SIS” to many at school and in the neighborhood where we do volunteer work, is sailing through her 70’s like a boss.  She has the moxie of a senior in high school, the reliability of a spirited pick-up truck, and the energy of a 2-year-old chocolate lab. Her granddaughter Sofia and our daughter Olivia are classmates, and she has saved me much heartache and stress on certain days when ending client conversations hasn’t been so easy, and Olivia might have be waiting outside of the schoolyard for me. Texting Miss Cathy and asking for her help with Olivia until I arrive 15 minutes later is always effortless. 
On October 1, Miss Cathy was one of the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. With a bullet injury sustained at the shoulder, Miss Cathy was fighting for her life in the ICU among many, many others. Do you know a Grandma who has been shot? The horror.
Just recently, our beloved friend Joe, a comrade of my husband’s since Grad School at CalArts and a highly respected photographer and passionate location scout, was on a job in Argentina. While crossing the street in the town of Boca, he was viciously attacked by a gang of hoodlums who repeatedly stabbed him, a man who has often been referred to as “the nicest guy you’ll ever know”. His wife Lena flew to be at his side in the ICU where he laid, in a coma.
And just last week, our long-time fellow community activist, fellow Realtor, and family friend Chris, landed on the front pages of the Los Feliz Ledger and the LA Times, wrongly and preposterously accused of “harassment”. 
Shot. Stabbed. Accused. 
How does one reclaim their power and avoid the pitfalls of such trauma? As with grief, are there seven levels of surviving being unjustly %&*#’ed with? First the shock, then the rage, then the frustration, followed by the vengefulness, then the self-pity and denial including over eating, over drinking, over intercoursing..….? And how, as a friend, a family member, source of support, can WE be the stand for the survival and ultimate triumph of others? So many of us are all about our own triumphs, and glories, and pomp and posturing—is it the nature of the soulless dimensions and isolated creations of our cyber world that invites such a desperation for real connection and longing for being adored? Is this the shortest distance to feeling alive? 

I have no answers. In fact, I’m still at the peripheral stage of rage on behalf of these loved ones. Perhaps the “how” exists in a humbler solar system. After all, as one story goes, could any of the players in the chaos ever guess what would come from a baby being born in a barn and cradled in a cattle trough? Has the world always been this unruly? 

I saw Miss Cathy for the first time since the shooting last week- beaming and badder than ever. “I feel great!” she proclaimed while her granddaughter, oblivious at the irony, tugged at  her sleeve to get going. I choked back tears and said “You’re my hero.” 
Word has it that Joe, less than a week after his attack, opened his eyes, smiled, and in a few days, took several steps on his own. Unstoppable and undefeated, though the memory of the incident remains fresh in his recall. 
As for Chris, despite the phony lynching and laughable accusations of inappropriate touching (the “victim” and he shared a mutual hug at a community potluck when a third person claimed he touched said victim inappropriately with his paper plate) and potentially humiliating news items, is still in his own ICU, taking to an out-of-town respite to minimize the attention. Ironically, the outpouring of support on behalf of his character and integrity, in my opinion, has bulldozed any negative suspicions or comments that some may still have.
I believe it’s safe to say—the world is still a good place, filled with beautiful people, kind souls, abundance, and joy. This is what I choose. And this is my wish for you. Even as bullets and lies and violence fly all around us, may you find your greatest power through peace. “If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine.” —Obi Wan Kenobi to Darth Vader


OLIVIA and friends a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away