I meant to post this yesterday, I really did. But what with some intense stuff going on in my life and Snowpocalypse III bearing down on us, I forgot all about it.
(Snowpocalypse III turned out to be more like a Flurricane. We did get another 10-12 inches, but it wasn't the all-out Snowmaggedon everyone predicted.)
Last week, so many of in the US (and some around the world) paused to remember the Space Shuttle Challenger on the 25th anniversary of the tragedy that took the lives of seven people and was, for my generation, one of the first "flashbulb" moments - an event seared into our memories not only because of its importance, but because so many watched it unfold in horrible, real time.
Yesterday was another anniversary - it was eight years ago on February 1 that the Space Shuttle Columbia, its thermal protection system damaged during liftoff by an errant chunk of insulation, broke up as streaked into Earth's atmosphere.
Why is this notable for me? Well, Dear Reader, a couple of days ago, I also noted the anniversary of my mother's death. That was the day before the loss of the Columbia. I had been in Alabama for several days at this point, and I'd been suffering from pressure and pain in both ears since my flight from New York. On the morning of the 2nd, I knew I had to address the probably ear infection, so I set out for Med Plus in Muscle Shoals. I filled out paperwork and was shown to a small exam room where I took a seat to wait. The door was left slightly open and I could hear a radio or television in the background. There were no emphatic announcements, just bits and pieces of reports I could barely here. I didn't know what had happened, but I knew it involved the Shuttle, and that it was bad.
Finally, someone came in to take my temperature, blood pressure, etc. Keep in mind that my mom had been dead about 24 hours. I was raw, worn out from crying, and running on little to no sleep. (No comments about my sleep habits from the peanut gallery.) I was teary-eyed and sniffling to say the least. What happened next didn't seem funny at the time, but it's amazing what 8 years' worth of perspective will do...
The nurse (or nurse's aide or just the person with the stethosocope) looked at me in my emotional state and said, "I know, it's a hard day. We're all upset about the Shuttle." That wasn't the reason for my tears, though, and I responded simply, "My mother just died."
She looked at me and blinked the blink of utter incomprehension and said incredulously...
Your mother was on the Space Shuttle???
Somehow, I think my mother would have loved that story.