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Rose petals

how long can eyes spill tears?

"This was written right after the explosion of the Columbia shuttle, for Ilan Ramon:

.......MOURN YOU.....

How high can temperature
soar
in frigid air?

How long can it take for
shock
to become truth?

How long can
eyes
spill tears?

How long can I
mourn
you?"

Ki posted in PostPoems on 28 April 2003, three months after IAF Colonel Ramon was killed in the explosion of the USA space shuttle Columbia. He had been a career air force combat pilot and also the first citizen of Israel accepted on a flight crew into space; they had just been working 24h/day in rotating shifts on experiments for the fifteen days of the mission, shuttle was 16m away from touchdown back on earth.

< > < > < > < > < > < > < >

Colonel Ramon was a family man, one of his four kids had been the same age as Ki when the accident happened, his son Assaf. There was national shock in Israel.

The colonel had had family elders interned in Auschwitz in the war, and he carried a small pencil drawing with him into space --- a drawing = "Moon Landscape" = done by a fourteen-year-old, Peter Ganz, who had been killed in Auschwitz. (In fact, I've just noticed that all three of them were the same age: Peter, Assaf, and Ki.)

Assaf would go on to follow his father into the IAF, but die in a jet fighter training accident just before he was to graduate from flight school.

(We are remembering today in the USA not only for the crew of Columbia, but also because exactly 30 years ago today the shuttle Challenger blew up on 28 January 1986, 73 seconds after takeoff; aboard was our first civilian in space, an active teacher named Christa McAuliffe, who was going to teach classes to her kids during the mission, over a telemetric downlink.)

Ki made a point of posting both of her poems composed in memory of Ilan Ramon, on the first day she had opened her PostPoems account: her other one is "Grief."

And of course Ki has a constant theme of departing into space (and of death), it shows up in much of her creative work.

So.

Not a single one of the students in New Hampshire --- excitedly waiting for their teacher Christa's lessons --- has ever forgotten where they were that day. Most of them were sitting in class that morning, watching the Challenger lift off from the launch pad; some had watched it blow up (it had been still close enough to the ocean to be tracked live by videocams.) As a nation, we had been in national grief also.

Not a single one of us closest to Kiota has ever forgotten where we were either, that day or evening when we got the confirmed news about her.

So:

"How long can I
mourn
you?"

Each of us has her own answer.

Separately, and together.

Blessings Be.

Comments

Even though I expected nothing to be here, the original journal having been deleted years ago (And not even having updated my own journal in over 4 years), I felt compelled to check the link anyway. Just in case...what? I don't know what I was expecting, but this was definitely a surprise. Thank you for doing this, Kiota was one of my oldest and closest LJ friends. Though we never got a chance to meet in person I loved her so much. I'll never forget our conversations or my frantic and frustrating call to Evergreen on the day she died. Ki is forever in my thoughts <3
Hi, Nia! <3 your button icon!

Yeah, a number of us made those calls to Evergreen, the response usually was first to find out whether we were family or not, and then something like "I assure you Anna is being taken care of." And this to some LHO's from TeenHelp, who were her colleagues in cybercounseling and who had loved her dearly for years, as well, and who had been online in LiveChats with her way into her last night.

Otter comes here often, of course, and I'm sure she's grateful for your comments too. It's Otter who originally re-purchased the name "Kiota" and did the entire design layout of our journal, and put a lot of work into establishing links to Ki's creative pieces, and there are lots of them.

Do enjoy reading here. There's a reason you re-found us!

:Brad / Silverplate88 ... co-Mod with Gothicotter



Edited at 2016-01-29 09:19 pm (UTC)
I remember them telling me they couldn't even go to check up on her because I couldn't provide an exact address/room number (shouldn't they have had that on file?) I spent a long time blaming myself and wished I had lied and said I was a cousin or other relative instead of saying I was a concerned friend, just in case that would have mattered =/

Thanks again to both of you.

smoke and mirrors

The straight scoop is this: of course they had all of the info on file. Any college does, for any enrolled / registered student. And they had already checked up on her, and found her. My hunch is that if you had said you were a cousin they still would have asked you for a room number. (They know who all the close cousins are, and most or all of them live in Texas.)

What they were eager to find out is exactly what persons would be calling in, because of how the investigators proceed to classify the reason for any death. That reason becomes part of the official Death Certificate which they issue. Initally they were stonewalling everyone they couldn't verify as an actual family member.

Don't need to go into more details here, but it was important to make sure that the family was notified first, before any others. Not the first time Evergreen had ever had this happen, they knew exactly what to do.

The bottom line here, of course, is all the beautiful things we have of Ki that keep on living, and it's first because of her decision, on her last night, NOT to erase what she'd posted in a lot of places -- which she easily could have done in seconds, with the DEL key on her computer. That is why we can still talk right now. She's still here.

And will be. As long as any of us shall hold our hearts open to love her...

:Brad / Silver

Re: smoke and mirrors

This information makes me feel a lot better - understanding the full situation from the school's point of view. Despite knowing that of course other people would have been calling, it was still a "what if" that I was hung up on for a long time. But yes, I am so glad that she can continue to exist in this way.

Re: smoke and mirrors

Glad I could help with the info, Nia. And each of us agrees with you, in our own way, about "continuing to exist."

I don't think Otter pats herself on the back nearly often enough for setting all of this up for us. And with us. She's created a living link to Ki's words, Ki's art, and especially to Ki's love and caring.

:Brad co-Mod