Next week members of the foundation (including moi) are going to Las Vegas for the NAED (National Academies of Emergency Dispatch) conference. I have mixed emotions about it. I believe I should be excited about going to Las Vegas. Who doesn't get excited about Vegas? Well.... I'm not all that excited. I take that back. I am and I'm not. I am excited because it will give me an opportunity to meet 9-1-1 industry people. When Mark and Nate came home from San Diego they said it was the most incredible experience (other than getting married and having children) they ever had. That the encouragement and the support for our cause and for them was phenomenal. They said the people were just wonderful. It made them feel good. I so want to feel good. Suddenly all we are doing was making sense and we felt we were being heard. So, there are many people think it would be good for me to meet some of these same people and experience the same positive energy. More importantly I'm to man the booth. Which I'm good at and have lots of experience doing.
I'm not looking forward to it because I don't want to be that person people feel sorry for. I'm afraid that I might break down and share my grief too much. I'm afraid of telling Denise's story over and over again. I'm sure I can. I'm sure I just have the jitters but as I've said before, it's not easy getting out there and putting your pain on display.
I'm worried about parties etc.... I don't want to go to parties. Yes, I want to meet people and network to promote our cause. Yes, I want to laugh. I like to laugh. Yes, I want to go to dinner. But I don't think I can actually party. We'll see.
Aside to Kevin: If you're reading this, dinner is on! You've been so incredibly supportive.
I'm just sharing my thoughts. I'm not sure how I feel.
But I think it's an important trip and the right thing to do. I'm primarily going to work the booth at the convention. I've been working boothes at conventions and home shows for years. I'm good at it. I know Denise's story and 9-1-1 debacle in her case inside and out. I feel very comfortable about doing it. It'll be nice discussing it with people who actually know what I'm talking about. It'll be wonderful to hear their thoughts as to what can be done, what we should do, and where we should go from here.
But I know it's going to take a lot of emotional energy.
Today wasn't a good day for me. We're shipping a lot of stuff out to the conference center before we go. We have a very large picture of Denise. It's this picture about 35" W x 25" H
The picture is almost life size. As I was driving, I had the picture in the front seat and I couldn't help touching her face. It brought back memories of when we used to go places with the kids (doctors etc...). It was hard driving and holding back tears.
Then I stopped at one of the foundation member's workplaces to ship the stuff. The foundation member (a true angel in blue) works less than a 1/4 mile from where Denise's body was found. At the entrance to the street where Denise's body was found the road is closed but there's teddy bears, flowers, ribbons etc.... on one of the road signs.
Above is a picture from the newspaper early in 2008. I had to drive by it twice today to get Tammy's workplace. Since this picture was taken many more bears have been added and many many more flowers. It was hard for me to see. I don't go near that area unless I absolutely have toand today I had to. I avoid it like the plague. Anyhow, seeing it was almost unbearable. Why? Because it was dirty and dingy. The bears were filthy with highway grit and dust (it's very close to I-75). I thought, oh my! So I went to the local dollar store to get some silk flowers (the closest Michael's is a half hour away) but they were closed due to the economy. That's what their sign said. So I went to the Publix. They didn't have any silk flowers. And there I was in a quandary and almost breaking into tears as to what to do. It seemed silly, a woman in the middle of a grocery store getting ready to cry. I know this sounds pathetic but the feelings were very genuine. What do you do? So, I bought some real daisies and drove back to the sign. I cleaned away as much debris as I could and all the dead flowers. I was in tears. I had to fight the "compulsion" to get a sponge and start cleaning the bears and faded ribbons. I wanted to brighten it up and make it cheery. The bears up close didn't look as bad as they do far away. You could see they had been placed there with love.
I don't know whether we should take it all down or leave it up. I think it should stay. But it has to be kept nice! By the time I left it, I was a wreck. When I get back from the conference I plan on going back with very bright silk flowers. I can't clean the bears but I can spruce them up some.
Anyhow, I cried all the way home (half an hour drive). I felt people were looking at me. There I was in the car with Denise's lifesize picture sitting next to me. I could've turned the picture over so I wouldn't have to see it. That would've kept me from reaching out to her. But that not right!!! It's all still that painful. Then I have the bumper sticker so I felt I was being stared at. I know there are people out there who thinking we should just "get over it".
So many people want me to read "The Shack" by William P Young. It's a Christian book about a man's whose daughter was abducted and brutally murdered in a shack. Four years later he receives a note supposedly from God that tells him to visit the shack. Sorry but I can't read that! I don't want to read about someone being abducted and brutally murdered. I don't care if they do find God in the end. (I haven't lost God. I'm just mad at him.)
Besides, I'm sorry but I think it's going to take longer than 4 years to get over this!
The good thing about the book is that it helps people better understand what we're going through as far as grief and anger. It doesn't help them necessarily understand our relationships (or at least my relationship) with God. That's a personal journey and everyone's is different.
Our foundation isn't going to stop people from being murdered. The murderer killed Denise. He's evil. But if we don't do all we can to help prevent further mishaps in 9-1-1 centers which will help prevent other families from suffering the way we and other families such as the Perez's and the Johnson's and the Cantrell's and the Zimmerman's and the Koon's etc...etc...etc... I just think we'd be doing a great wrong.
Sorry to go on.
Yesterday was even more emotional. Sue was in an accident with the babies. All are fine. It wasn't Sue's fault. Some maniac pulled out in front of her and could've killed the boys. We were all shaken up. Just the thought of losing the boys was terrifying. And I mean terrifying. Poor poor Sue. I can't imagine what she felt. Thank God, she was smart. She saved the boys lives. And Denise and whoever up above were watching out for them. I know the other families know what I mean. I mean it was terrifying thinking we could've lost those boys.
Oddly, Sue tried to call 9-1-1 from her cell phone but the call seemed to keep dropping. (We're pretty close to the water). They had to go in and call from a local business. She doesn't know why her call wouldn't go through.
Again, sorry to go on.
Much love and peace. We're all fine.
I've printed this in both blogs because I don't know if it's about grief or 9-1-1. I'm that muddled.