Saturday, July 25, 2009

Memories of the moon walk

When we hear the term “moon walk” our minds immediately think of entertainer Michael Jackson and his famous dance that has become a classic. But there is another literal “moon walk” and a few days ago we celebrated 40 years since man landed and walked on the moon, July 20, 1969. That anniversary brought back a torrent of memories, most of which made me sit in disbelief that so much time has passed so quickly and my life has changed in ways I could never have imagined, both good and bad.

I know where I was at the moment they landed on the moon…my husband, 3-year-old daughter and I had gone to Tucson to visit friends for lunch and sat fixed in front of their television set watching all that was happening. We were so young and innocent as we watched what we thought would be a future of moon walks and other exciting events in outer space during our lifetime.

But time has a way of bring us down to reality. Although we had a comfortable life during those years, we didn’t make a fortune in the stock market of the 70’s and 80’s. I didn’t become a writer for a large newspaper; I taught writing instead and produced my own newspaper for many years. My husband and I grew apart and divorced. And my daughter, who had a wonderful childhood, didn’t live to fulfill her dreams of having children, a career, traveling or a life with her new husband. All my family members are gone now except for a few cousins; good friends have died needlessly from illnesses or accidents; the world has experienced more wars and terrorism than imaginable.

Seeing the film footage of man landing on the moon again brings me to tears because I think of all the good that could have come from science and technology, yet now we have to worry about threats from countries with nuclear bombs. I think of the days of innocence when we all left our home doors unlocked so friends could come in and visit any time of the day or night. And it was okay to let your child play at the park with friends and not have to think about child abductions and worse. I worry about our future children and what kind of world they will be living in.

And, of course, I relive my life with my daughter, the great relationship we had, and think of all the wonderful things she accomplished in her short life and how I will always miss her. Since her death 15 years ago, my life has changed considerably. I did do what I wanted: write a book, but never dreaming she would be the impetus for it. I did lots of traveling, but all the time wishing she could enjoy the trips with me. I had a successful teaching career of 28 years. And I did finally meet the love of my life six years ago and never knew I could be so happy.

I now realize how happy my daughter was with her husband of four short months, looking forward to a bright future. Sometimes I even believe I am living the life she would have, doing the things she would have, meeting new friends and fulfilling dreams I never thought possible. Sometimes I even find myself using words and phrases that would have come from her mouth. I smile because I know she will always be with me, encouraging me to keep going and do whatever makes me happy.

Shine on, silvery moon. I may not see the day of moon travel for all of us, but I know, because my daughter lived, I am a better person, and she is smiling down at me from somewhere up there.

Editor's note: Happy Birthday, Marcy. She would have been 43 years old Monday, July 27.

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