Sunday will be the sixth anniversary of my friend’s death. She was murdered by her ex while simply living her own life, washing a tea kettle out when he came up behind her and ended her life. For all of us who are touched by domestic violence and abuse, we ask if there was something we could have done, something we should have been aware of. I participated in my own share of victim blaming until I saw the larger picture of having your finances and only home tied up with someone who is threatening.
I think we all like to believe the best of people, and if we’re wrong, we just pick up and walk away. Everyone has friends they can rely on, but how true is that really? Can a mom, the mom who seems to have all the problems, is never on time, offering flimsy excuses with the two kids, both in diapers – can she crash on your sofa or spare room indefinitely? Are you friends with her domestic partner? Who will you believe?
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, and it takes on a variety of forms. Some, though not many, don’t realize they’re abusive; it’s the way they were raised, and they think it’s “normal” to slap your wife and kids or grab her or slam doors and drink a little too much. Others seem like the perfect couple, family, etc, and no one knows what’s going on inside someone else’s home?
For B, my friend, when she had nowhere to live, she arranged to live in her house. Her house, that she paid for, contributed to the down payment of, was responsible on the deed for, but also on the property where her ex lived. I thought that was crazy. However, what else could she do?
He threatened her, but people say things they don’t mean all the time.
Why didn’t she call the police? Well, she did, several times. In fact, the police paid a visit to their house the night before she was murdered. They didn’t believe there was a problem; not a real one. Don’t set him off, though.
I didn’t understand.
Now, in Congress, in the House of Representatives yesterday, a bill was passed that will now go on to the Senate to be voted on. If it passes the Senate, I have no doubt that President Trump will sign it. He signs whatever he’s told to.
This new bill, that might become a law, which by the way also exempts members of Congress from its new rules and changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as well as affecting private insurance and employer insurance along with Medicaid and Medicare, defines pre-existing conditions in horrific ways and will affect someone you know.
They say that pre-exisiting conditions will be covered, but that depends on the state you’re in, and legal access to health care doesn’t mean that everyone will have it or be able to afford it.
For example, four of the pre-existing conditions mentioned specifically are: domestic violence, sexual assault, c-section, and post-partum depression. What do these four things have in common? In addition to being completely and arbitrarily unpredictable and randomly occuring, they also only happen to women. The first two – domestic violence and sexual assault – are perpetuated by men onto women, but as is the case in many instances, women pay the brunt of the violence against them.
This is one of the most blatant and disgusting and obvious moments of victim-blaming.
They’re looking at getting rid of well visits and preventative care, maternity leave, and pre-natal care as well.
In today’s Congress, had my friend survived her gunshot to the head she would be blamed for it as a victim of domestic violence. It would be considered a pre-existing condition and not covered under the Republican’s repeal and regress health care plan.
They’ve had eight years to come up with something, and they’ve failed. However, they continue to punish women for their failure.
Do not let this Republican controlled Congress and White House continue to abuse women and their families.
If you or someone you know are in danger or in a domestic abuse relationship or situation, contact the The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. They can help you and find resources for you wherever you are.
If you or someone you know are an LGBT+ youth and in an abusive situation, contact The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386. They can put you in touch with someone who can help you.
You are not alone.
My sister is the keeper of celebrity deaths and news on her Facbook. This is her end of year list of all of them for 2016. There were so many as we’ve all noted througout the year; if there are any missing from this list, please add them in the comments.
I was going to write a post about how much of my childhood I lost this past year. It seemed that every other day a new name was being memorialized on my television, on my Facebook, on my heart.
Our family lost my mother-in-law and a close family friend. My friend lost her father. Another friend lost his grandmother.
We will always continue to find inspiration somewhere, but that doesn’t make any of these losses, family or celebrity, any easier.
Death is a part of life, and with the turning of the calendar page, 2016 passes away, and 2017 is born.
…coping is not an easy thing.
The last two days of reflections and meditations from the Advent/Christmas book both had to do with death and our reactions to death.
I must admit, I’m not a big fan of death. I’ve always had emotional issues with it, and while my faith in G-d and eternal life with Jesus is strong, I can’t help but feel an emptiness of what might come. It’s scary.
I’ve been devastated when some loved ones have died. I think the ones that hurt the most are the ones that come out of the blue. My father was ill before he died, and it was still sad and upsetting and I feel his loss today, but when my mother died suddenly eighteen months later, I was devastated. I cried every day. The only reason I’m not crying every day since the death of my mother in law in June I’m sure is because of my anti-anxiety meds. I feel her loss deeply.
In the last two days, I’ve lost two of the most significant inspirations in my life: George Michael and Carrie Fisher. They come at the end of a year that saw so many iconic, influential, important to my life and th lives of others die, sudden and out of the blue.
Growing up, George Michael was part of the second British invasion that I was fortunate enough to witness in the 80s during my high school and college years. it was the beginning of a lot of self-awareness on my part, much of which I didn’t become really aware of until recently. His stepping into who he was and holding that position proudly said it all. His talent and his kindness were not easily matched. We are reading stories this week of his philanthropy that no one knew about, donating money, working in a homeless shelter, helping in his quiet way, the way we’re all supposed to do it, without a big shining spotlight. I will always be a fan.
Carrie Fisher was so much: a bridge from the old, glamorous Hollywood that my mother remembered with her not only famous, but iconic parents, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher. She was a princess to many of us that saw Star Wars for the first time, not knowing what to expect, but her princess-ness was not with wands or sceptors, tiaras or gowns. She was a leader, she was strong, she was independent, and she was all those things in her real life, her non Leia life. She inspired me with her honesty, most recently chastising someone on Twitter for debating whether or not she aged gracefully. Everything about Carrie Fisher was graceful and exuberant in her own way of being exuberant. She had a wonderful sense of humor and a laugh that was infectious. She inspired me as a strong woman, a woman who spoke her mind regardless of the reaction of others, her love and loyalty to her family and close friends, her mental health honesty and struggle and what she still overcame and struggled to overcome, and of course, her writing. As a fellow writer, I saw so much of her wit and talent, and I try to emulate that.
Neither of them were family, but they are loved and missed as family. There is a pain in my heart for them; for me. They’re fine, wherever they are now, but I mourn and try to figure out how to do better using their influence as a guide.
“…the news that arises from the mystery of the resurrection, the news that love and life are stronger than death.”
“…To be complete, joy must be shared.”
From Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2016-17 by Bishop Robert F. Morneau
What role does music play in your faith life? What role does Mary have in your Christian discipleship?
From Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas: Waiting in Joyful Hope 2016-17 by Birhsop Robert F. Morneau
Music plays such a profound role in the church I attend, both the physical parish and the church of my heart. We are blessed with a beautiful choir and our musical director is so talented and has such an amazing voice. For the Immaculate Conception, he sang Ave Maria, and each Christmas I look forward to his singing of O, Holy Night. It defies description and takes my breath away.
I have always been a fan of Gregorian chants and Welsh choirs are the voices of angels.
It is not only hymns and church music that brings me spirituality. I have an affinity for modern, albeit alternative music that lets me travel in my mind to many places and thoughts. My current favorite is the Hamilton soundtrack and my collection of Supernatural and The Walking Dead music. They truly do feed my soul in ways that only writing typically does.
If the flute is being played, we dance. At Christmas parties and wedding celebrations we eat and drink in moderation. If a dirge sounds, we mourn the loss of a loved one or repent of our sins by doing penance, by practicing asceticism.
From Daily Reflections for Advent & Christmas:Waiting in Joyful Hope 2016-17 by Bishop Robert F. Morneau
We’ve had this difficulty all year – of trying to discern when to dance and when to mourn. This whole year has been a long, drawn out pop culture funeral beginning with David Bowie and Alan Rickman followed by Prince and Muhammad Ali, and continuing most recently with Florence Henderson and John Glenn. Some of them have been harder on my heart than others, but so much of my childhood has been disappearing before my eyes.
It is always difficult to continue living our daily lives with so much sorrow hanging over us. Each death brought me down, but I got back up. We get ourselves back up and we keep going. Because that’s what we do.
After my mother-in-law was hit by a car and almost died three years ago, we thought she’d live forever. She wasn’t supposed to walk or leave the hospital, and she did. As hard as it was, and as long as it took, she was home, she was walking and she was doing great. She is the epitome of energy and independence and inspiration. We are fortunate that my daughter seems to have inherited all of that from her.
We were stunned while on a visit after school let out that she passed away suddenly at the end of June. We were with her earlier in the day, talking, joking, she admiring my daughter’s taste in clothes as well as the discount we got in buying it. Bargains and garage sales made her happy.
Her passing made all the others less significant, and it’s taken a lot to get through it.Thanksgiving without her was difficult and I know that Christmas will be even harder. We didn’t see her for Christmas, but we spoke to her throughout the day. She is missed every day. Her birthday is in a few weeks, and we will continue to struggle with this loss that is so deep and devastating.
John Glenn is an American Hero. I do not use that description lightly. I’ve known John Glenn’s name since I was a child. I’ve spoken about my memories of the Moon Landing in 1969 and my love of Star Trek throughout my life, but John Glenn epitomized so many of the passions in my life.
I didn’t want to be a princess; I wanted to be an astronaut (and about a thousand other things). I watched anything space related that was televised including shuttle launches and landings. I’ve visited the Air and Space Museum at The Smithsonian. I took my class on a field trip to the Cradle of Aviation “museum” at Roosevelt Field when it was just a warehouse, but it had the space equipment to see and explore. I can still remember visiting Kennedy Space Center on one of our family trips to Florida. I still have a stuffed astronaut doll/pillow in a plastic bag somewhere in my garage. Even the mold on it won’t get me to throw it away. I have horrible, vivid memories of the Challenger.
John Glenn was a pioneer; a space man. He was gthe last surviving member of the original Mercury 7 astronauts. He was the first American to orbit the Earth and was only the fifth man in space. Prior to that he was a member of the Marine Corps and he flew combat missions in World War II and the Korean War. He broke a transcontinental speed record flying from Los Angeles to New York, going at supersonic speed. He was a Senator from Ohio, serving four terms with the Democratic party, leaving his mark on my political junkie self. And then after all of that, he returned to space again, becoming the oldest man to travel in space when he served aboard the space shuttle Discovery.
And more important than those milestones was the kind of person he was. Kind and thougtful, patriotic and dedicated, gracious and never losing sight of where he was from and still encouraging new generations to strive upward and onward, ever moving forward.
Please read this remembrance from journalist, Connie Schultz:
Gwen Ifill was one of the most respected journalists of our time. I’ve watched her for years, both on NBC and PBS. She was always happy to be where she was and reporting the news. She was a true journalist. I will miss her, especially her insight for the upcoming politcal year.