May We Remember

As I am sitting in my bedroom….I mean, my office, I’m reflecting on our new “normal”.  My oldest is doing college online from the dining room table.  My middle daughter was sent home from her Americorps service year in California.  And my youngest daughter attends her Zoom class meetings in her best sweats, lamenting the missed Senior year activities.  We also have two extra kids living with us right now during the quarantine.  That’s seven if you’re counting.  We’ve binged our shows, eaten too much, played a complete game of Monopoly (5 hours), been on numerous sanity runs and dog walks.  I’ve read all the posts about Tiger King, laughed at the Les Mis parodies, supported local small businesses, had more Zoom meetings than I can count and cried seeing the real pain of the families losing loved ones.

I feel fortunate that my family is well.  I feel fortunate that I have a job.  I don’t ever want to look past those blessings.  I do have the confidence that we will get through this crisis as we seemingly always do.  What I don’t want to forget is the families I’ve seen riding their bikes together, people waving and simply being kind, people posting videos of themselves singing or learning to play an instrument.  May we remember the healthcare workers, the volunteers making sure kids get breakfast and lunch, school principals leading their teachers and loving the kids.  My fear is we’ll just move on.  We’ll start to post vitriolic and hateful comments about those that dare oppose our political or religious leanings.  We’ll think violent thoughts about the man with too many items in the grocery store express lane.  We’ll honk at the car that doesn’t take off from the light like a dragster on the quarter mile track.  This coming together will just fade as it has so often before.

I was a firefighter paramedic on 9/11.  In the months following that horrific time, firefighters received an outpouring of gifts, public recognition, thumbs up in traffic and heartfelt thank you cards.  And then as quickly as they came, they just simply faded.  May we not forget this time when we were perhaps “forced” to spend with loved ones.  May we not forget the time when those who have no family felt even more alone.  May we remember the amazing job our health care workers perform every day.  May we remember when we posted positive or funny messages on social media that weren’t aimed to hurt or tear down another person.

We will get through this.  Let’s get through this better.

michael h westbrooks

Written by Michael H. Westbrooks

After college at Loyola and the University of North Texas, Michael served 11 years as a Plano firefighter. He officially joined WDW in 1992. Michael and his wife, Loree, have three teenage daughters. Michael runs or bikes whenever possible, competing in several races every year.  Michael is heavily involved with the Dallas Life homeless ministry, having recently completed his term as board president.