Reflect, remember, recover

Slow down for a few minutes.

Since the semester started in late August, I haven’t let myself do that much. Elmar’s sister, Alina, came to visit from Germany with her boyfriend, Sepp. They were in and out of Austin for six weeks. I’ve been teaching and taking classes and socializing myself into my PhD program. I gave a poster presentation at a NAFSA Regional Conference in Puerto Rico. Roller derby is still a fun and intense hobby. Elmar and I have been looking for a permanent housing solution. I’m giving a talk at an AATG meeting tomorrow.

So things have been productive and good, but busy. Too busy to think. But November 2 has been a personal day of reflection since 1995. And music in the balmy Texas air is pulling me back to that era.

I actually came out to the backyard to review my presentation and grade tests. Pretty awesome Friday night. But then I heard the high school football game going on down the street. Typical Texas Friday night, at least for this time of year. The percussion and horns ring clear through the balmy night. As usual, you can’t hear the woodwinds.

Tripp, Ryan, and Curtis died in a car accident 17 years ago on the way to a marching band performance. When the paramedics covered Tripp with a white sheet, a little piece of me died too.

Hearing the music tonight reminds me of the football game the week after the accident. The rest of us marched out onto the field in the shape of a heart in order to pay tribute, and to heal. That was when a little piece of me was revived.

After any tragedy, communities have to rebuild physically and psychologically. We’re currently seeing that on a large scale after Hurricane Sandy. After this formative experience when I was 15, I felt such a strong group connection to my peers, who were also affected by grief and loss. Even after living outside of Texas for so long, I’m still in touch with many people from that time.

And now, during what sounds like the marching band’s halftime show, I’ll allow myself a few minutes to slow down.