Touch Recap: 1+1=3

29 03 2012

By Hilda Clark Bowen

When does 1+1=3? It is a mathematical fallacy, but for some, it means synergy. Synergy, according to Webster’s Dictionary, is “the working together of two things to produce an effect greater than the sum of their individual effects.”

When we left off in the pilot, Jake (David Mazouz) had made a connection with his father, Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland), for the first time, indeed not only giving him his first hug ever, but also a clue to his next red thread to untangle, the phone number: 718-673-5296. Trying to see if there was a clue in that phone number, I dialed it. It is an actual landline in the Greater New York area, but the phone number is not programmed to take messages.

The new show opens in what looks to be a country in India perhaps, with a young man (Karan Soni) on a bench with a pottery statue, and continues with short clips of all the people involved in tonight’s episode. Clea (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) returns to the Bohm’s home to take Jake back to the facility for an assessment. Despite what she witnessed, she still has to follow her job’s mandate, but reassures Martin she is on his side–she wants Jake home with Martin for good. When he politely refuses to cooperate, she politely informs him she’ll need to call the police. He reconsiders and walks over to explain things to Jake. Jake writes the phone number he wants his father to follow in the palm of his hand and leaves with Clea.

Martin looks up the phone number on his reverse directory and it belongs to Arnie’s Pawn Shop, 318 East Fordham Road, New York, New York. East Fordham is actually a street in the Bronx (I lived in the Bronx for a short time), but 318 does not exist (316 does), although I do like the call back to the first episode where 318 was important (the school bus, the fireman’s badge number, the number of the street address of the Teller Institute on West Tesla Street in the Bronx, the date and time to run into the fireman).

At the JFK Airport where Martin works, his path crosses with Lyov, a dog going to Moscow. Upstairs in the passenger area, flight attendant, Becca Klepper (Amy Sloan) is rushing and runs directly into the young man from India, scattering the ashes of his dead father that were contained within the pottery piece on the terminal’s ground. Becca meets up with Martin on the tarmac. She is supposed to escort Lyov to Moscow. While putting the dog on the truck, Martin accidentally pops the crate open and Lyov takes off.

At the assessment center, Jake repetitively writes 5296. Not understanding that he cannot just pop random numbers that have no connectivity out of his head, Clea asks him to use popcorn kernels to “guess” her phone number or address. Instead, he creates a smiley face for her. When she tries to get Jake to use paint to express his numbers, he uses it to paint his hand instead. Clea looks defeated. While getting him a wipe to clean up his hand, Jake has bolted from the room already but not before writing 5296 for her. Jake puts his orange handprint on a door with the number 6 on it in the basement. When Clea notices all the doors are locked, she subsequently notices the keypad at the exit door. She puts in 5296 and the door opens. In a beautiful scene, as the door opens, the sunlight shines on Clea faces, a light that is leading her to take another step in believing that nothing Jake does is random.

The young ladies from Japan from the pilot episode, Miyoko (May Miyata) and Izumi (Satomi Okuno) arrive at JFK Airport on their way to Los Angeles to the Coastabella Music Festival. They are fans of the group “The Morticians.” Their physical path crosses with Becca, the flight attendant, at the terminal. Becca runs into the young man she bumped into earlier, as she missed her flight chasing after the dog, and he keeps trying to get to New York Stadium but the bus keeps dropping him back at the terminal. They discover both their fathers love baseball. He is trying to get his father’s ashes at center field. Becca admires him, saying “some of us will never get the chance.” Seeing how lost he looks trying to navigate just to get to the cab, she offers to assist him in getting to the stadium.

Martin enters the pawn shop. He overhears the man say, “I’m ready.” Martin does not understand. He explains to Arnie Klepper (Jude Ciccolella) that he was the guy who phoned him. Arnie still thinks he is crazy. A man walks in to rob the store (Blake Shields). The way the exchange goes between the masked man and Arnie, and the fact that he was surprised to see Martin there, I think Arnie wanted the man with the gun to shoot him (the opening having revealed that Arnie has cancer). Martin rushes him, the gun goes off, but Arnie only receives a shoulder wound. Martin pulls the mask off the man, now being able to identify him. A baseball lands at the young man’s eye level and he seems to recognize what it is. As the man flees, Martin turns over and sees a number at the top of the doorway where the chime is:  318. Obviously 318 is playing a significant role in now two episodes of Touch.

The young man meets Yuri Andreev (Mark Ivanir) in an alley, showing him a bunch of jewelry. The young man owes Yuri $10,000, but “the deal fell apart.” He tries to offer him a baseball that he says belonged to “Patrick McGrath’s home run in game 7 of the 2009 League Championship” that is worth $50,000. He tries to appeal to Yuri to give him a second chance. Yuri throws the ball out of the alley and says he has 3 hours to get him his money.

On the bus, Becca discovers that the young man carrying his father’s ashes has not made prior arrangements at the stadium and warns him that it may not happen. He says he must do this because he made a promise. His father was greatly disappointed in him as a son. Despite that, he feels he must do this because it is his duty as a son to show his father respect. Becca begins to cry. The young man comforts her.

Martin shares what has happened with Dr. Arthur Teller (Danny Glover). He offers Martin another orange soda (like in the first episode). Martin is trying to figure out what he is supposed to or not supposed to do in these situations. When there is cosmic pain that needs to be healed, Jake sees and feels that. Martin receives a phone call from Clea that Jake is gone, but when he looks up and out the window, he sees Jake there. But a bus pulls up (number 36) and Jake gets on. Martin runs after the bus and gets on (wait a minute–he didn’t pay his fare!)

In Moscow, Pavel Andreev (Daniel Polo) and his mom (Tatiana Chekhova) talk in the car before a talent show at school. Most of the other children do not seem to like him, and he hoped to impress them with magic. Only a young girl (Alex Peters) who adores him claps for him. Pavel is in emotional pain when the kids laugh as he tries to exit the stage and breaks a glass. Returning to the magic shop, Pavel demands the product did not live up to the advertising. The man (Eugene Alper) insists there are no bad products, only bad magicians. On the way out, Pavel spots the young girl from the audience. When inquiring why everyone hates him, she tells him they are afraid of his father (Yuri) because he is Solntsevskaya, or part of the Russian mob, not just a businessman, using a Tony Soprano reference.

Jake gets off the bus at W 132nd Street and Creston Avenue (an actual Bronx road) and winds up at the pawn shop. Martin notices the phone number is not the correct one Jake gave him–off by one number–5297 instead of 5296. When he dials, it is coming from above the store. Jake tries the door; it opens and he walks in, followed by Martin. He sees a letter addressed to Becca offering up apologies for mistakes “he” (her father) has made and reassures her that he loves her, with some of the words, “something has happened in my life”, “that our time here is precious”, and “I have left thinking…” and “forgive me” visible to the audience. Jake picks up a bat in the apartment that has the number 5296 on it. Martin sees a prescription for chlorambucil. (Chlorambucil is a chemotherapeutic medication used to treated chronic lymphocytic leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and Hodgkin’s disease). A young man interrupts him.

The character who stole the baseball continues to try to sell it, but has no takers even at $10,000. He sees a picture on the wall about the catch he made, “Peanut Vendor Makes Lucky Catch.”

Becca and the man from India arrive at the stadium. However, the guard (Shane Blades) will not let them in. She encourages him that he did not fail as he had gotten this far, has gotten closure and not many people could say that. Becca says Lyov, the dog. When she runs to get him, he bolts and she chases him. Running in heels is never a fun thing to do.

The young man in the apartment returns with cash for Martin. Martin looks confused. The young man is going to hurt Martin, but Martin grabs the bat that Jake left near the couch (and Martin does see the number 5296). He scoops Jake up (which leads to Jake screaming) and carries him out to a cab. The driver (Tom Riordan) asks, “Where to” and Jake drops the prescription bottle on the seat. They are off to Victory Memorial Hospital. (Note: This is an actual hospital in Brooklyn that was noted for his delivering of babies that was closed. It sat just blocks from the Verrazano Bridge. They used to deliver a large number of babies of Italian and Irish descent, now it was more of Chinese and Russian descent).

Once at the hospital, Arnie happens to be in Room 5296, but not right now. Out the window, Martin and Jake see a hospital-gowned Arnie walking towards the bridge (it does not really look like the Verrazano Bridge to my memory).

The peanut vendor talks to Patrick McGrath, (Randall Batinkoff), the player whose ball he caught. McGrath mentions something about a “lawsuit” that allowed the peanut vendor to keep the ball. He shares a story that after he tried to sell his childhood dream (catching the ball), things in his life went from bad to worse. He just wanted to put things back right. He feels that in order to fix that karma, he needed to give the player his ball back. As the peanut vendor walks out, he leaves the door open for the man from India to go in. I’m sure the peanut vendor did not know he was to become part of a chain of events for this man either. The peanut vendor drives to where Yuri is waiting for him in a parking lot. Yuri realizes that he is going to have to beat him up for nonpayment. The peanut vendor reminds him that choices are cause and effect. Yuri gets a phone call from his son. He wonders if Pavel received the dog (Lyov) he sent him. Pavel confronts Yuri–does he not have friends because Yuri hurts people? He lies and tells Pavel no, and that “people change.” He will help his friends see that. Yuri turns to the peanut vendor and tells him he will give him his second chance.

Arnie stands on the side of the bridge looking down on traffic. (This definitely is not the Verrazano Bridge because that bridge goes over water). Martin tells him he knows everything–about his cancer, about the $10,000 he gave to the man to rob his store and kill him. Arnie does not know why Martin keeps “doing this to me.” Martin says he was meant to find him and help him. Arnie says he is dying. Martin says he does not know that as he has not even gone through the treatment yet. Arnie says he has no one who cares either way. Martin says he read the letter to Becca. His plan was to be able to leave her insurance money (if were killed in a robbery), but he could not even get that plan right. He plans to leave as he came in–alone. Martin says he’s there and he is not alone. Arnie, not convinced, prepares himself to jump as Martin rushes in and grabs him under the shoulders and pulls him over. Martin reassures him that he wants to be his friend and that he does care. A dog barks. It has to be Lyov (which will be followed by Becca). Martin is in further disbelief when he sees Becca.

An ending montage is played to the song by Alexi Murdoch, “Someday Soon.” (I love my father and I love him well…I hope to see my father soon…). The orange handprint being washed off the door. Arnie and Becca in the hospital room holding hands. The man from India spreading his father’s ashes at the pitcher’s mound and cries for the first time after his father’s death. Yuri arriving home on the plane to his son and wife. It becomes clear this was an episode mostly about fathers, including Martin and Jake. However, the montage then shows the girls from Japan. The peanut vendor is seen with a spring in his steps and burden lighter.

It closes with Martin saying, “There are so many things I wanted to teach you….” and goes into what he thought a father should do and be. “Now it turns out, you teaching me, and I want you to know I’m okay with that.” There is a hint of smile in Jake’s face for another thread healed in the world.

My thoughts about the episode: I’m enjoying the recurrent threads of the 318 numbers (which I’m not quite sure what it means yet although I keep looking). I’m curious where the threads will lead again with the girls from Japan. It was nice to see actors I have not seen in awhile: Amy Sloan whose work I had become familiar with on “Call Me Fitz”, Jude Ciccolella with his connections to Kiefer’s old show “24”, and Blake Shields who had been in “Sleeper Cell” and Tim Kring’s “Heroes.” That Jake feels cosmic pain does not surprise me. Oftentimes children with special needs have heightened senses. For example, my Patrick knows when there is someone around him who is uncomfortable with his behavior even though they do not speak a single word (and rarely does he). Tim Kring obviously takes that to the next level. My son, Patrick, is my life’s greatest teacher.  He has taught me how to live in the moment, a rare gift in a crazy world.  He has taught me patience.  He has taught me the beauty of eye contact, the joy of shaking a head up and down or right to left to respond to a simple question, and so much more.  My world is more about possibilities than absolutes.  Whether Yuri will leave the mob is doubtful, but at least for that one man on that one day, Yuri gave someone he never gave before a second chance. The show’s theme that concentrated on mostly fathers seemed to be more about second chances for everyone.





My “Touch” Moment

21 03 2012

By Hilda Clark Bowen

Coincidence. Fate. Is there truly a God that controls all things down to the microsecond of your life or just the big stuff? After all, if God exists, he/she gave us the free will to make choices. Those choices ripple out into consequences, good or bad. These are the questions we all ask ourselves and our answers may vary throughout our life as our own experiences shape our reality.

I had always felt it was fate that led me to find Jeff. It is difficult to put a starting point in this story. My father-in-law passed away in February 2012. For those of you who haven’t seen the new Fox series “Touch”, the experience made me instantly think of this show. It is loosely based on the red string of fate, a Chinese legend that said the gods tie an invisible red string around the ankles of those that are destined to be soul mates and will one day marry each other. The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break, a concept very similar to soul mates. Tim Kring of the new TV show “Touch” expands that to include groups of individuals but still connected by love.

Red string of fate; unknown credit

I met Jeff on July 4, 1990, the last day of my vacation that began with my dear friend, Louise Rizzuto, getting married, on Long Island. I was a bridesmaid in her wedding. After the wedding, I traveled down to New Jersey to see my sister and my aunt. On that last night back on Long Island, my friend and now Patrick’s godmother, Patty, asked me to go out with her that evening. She wanted me to meet the best friend of her boyfriend, Larry. I almost did not get there. My foster brother stole my keys and would not give them back to me, and making me very late. Jeff told me he was about to leave. We met around the corner from where he lived in Setauket. We stayed at the restaurant for a few hours and then I told Jeff I would still love to sit by the water, as I had not had an opportunity to do that. He took me to a beach that apparently was frequented by drug dealers. When the police raided the beach, I was terrified I was going to jail for just sitting on the beach talking with him, so I ran. Jeff grabbed my purse and ran with me. After the police car stopped us and determined I truly was just some out-of-towner who did not realize the beach was closed, he let us go. Jeff found another place where we could talk out in public. I think I left about 4-5 a.m. and went back to where I was staying to pack and drive to the airport.

The rest of our relationship unfolded. He eventually moved down here in January of 1991 into his own apartment. We were engaged in July of 1991, but he wanted me to meet his family before making the announcement.  We did that on August 11, 1991 the day after his cousin’s wedding. We were married in October 1992.

My friend Patty said that we were the best thing that came out of her relationship with Jeff’s best friend. Patty and Larry broke up shortly after that.

As we continued to find out about each other, I discovered that Jeff went to our rival high school, Ward Melville, and had often been to our school for sports. I was often at the school because in my sophomore year, I was president of my class. He lived right around the corner from SUNY Stony Brook, the college my sister attended, and where I often visited. That is important because around the corner from there was the Pancake Cottage, where my sister and I would have breakfast, as would Jeff and his family. It is possible that we were in the restaurant at the same time together and never knew it. Then we traced ourselves back even further. He remembers a classmate of his coming back from the Suffolk County LIBEC contest for typing in 1981, saying she was beat from someone from Patchogue (as if that was pond scum; we were a lower socioeconomic group than Ward Melville). Yep, that person was me.

Meanwhile in Setauket, Long Island, before we met, Jeff’s sister Deirdre was off at college in Massachusetts. She became roommates with Trish. Deirdre eventually married Frank. Trish married John.

Trish and John belonged to a very small church in New Jersey. They were very close to Jennifer. Jennifer and John were working on bringing a more contemporary service to their church. He knew Marilyn and Tony, Jennifer’s parents. He also knew Michelle and Gordon Dobson. One day Jennifer tells them she is moving to Texas to start a business to help this family out. Marilyn and Tony followed. They were very sad to see her go.

I had a miscarriage with my first baby (a boy, we named Matthew Joseph). Then Patrick was born, and he was later diagnosed with multiple disabilities including autism. In August 2010, I decided to pull him out of public school and try to get him into an autism school in the area. The place we found was Including Kids (InKids) run by Jennifer Dantzler.

On February 5, 2012, my father-in-law died. The wake would be Thursday of that next week and the funeral on Friday. We debated back and forth about who would go up there–just Jeff or would we try to attempt this trip as a family. Patrick’s behavior was much better since being at InKids, and we knew Jeff’s mom would love to see Patrick; she had not seen him in almost a decade (she could not fly down because of my father-in-law’s condition and we dared not even try before this time). The whole family would be happy to see him.

I was with Patrick in a lounge area at the funeral home when Jeff pops his head in and says, “You have to come over here; someone here knows Jennifer Dantzler.” I looked at him what a “what the hell” look. As we are walking, he tells me, “Deirdre’s roommate from college.” Then I thought the connection was that Jennifer also went to college in Massachusetts (not the same place, but maybe they knew each other from that area). While they were talking, Jeff stated that Patrick had autism and that he was going to a school for autism. Trish asked, “Do you know Jennifer Dantzler?” Jeff said, “She runs the school.” There are many schools for autism here in throughout Houston and the surrounding areas. As we talked to these people, my mind was connecting all the dots. Jennifer Dantzler is the executive director of Including Kids (InKids), the place where Patrick goes to school.

We talked about this huge coincidence for almost 30 minutes or more. John told me he remembered clearly when Jennifer said she was moving down to Texas. They were all shocked. I said, “The woman is fearless.” He agreed that was a good word for her. He said they had lost touch with each other in the last 4 years. At that very moment, I wanted to place a call to InKids, but it was late at night and no one would be there. We also discovered that while they were at this church, the Dobson’s offered up a French meal for 10-12 as a church raffle. Michelle is a French chef. It is something they offer similarly here for our Boots and Bling Gala, which is coming up on April 14, 2012. Trish said, “We invited Deirdre and Frank to that.” The Dobson’s are now on the board of directors for the school and also live down here. Tony and Marilyn routinely are the ones to serve the food to people at these type events, so Deirdre and Frank likely saw them at that dinner without ever knowing they were to become part of our lives, too, at a future date. John said Jennifer, Marilyn and Tony had been on his mind for the last 2 weeks. We shared with Trish and John that if it were not for Jennifer and her staff, Patrick would not be here making that long journey from Texas to New Jersey. We shared with them all the progress Patrick has been able to make since going to InKids. The next day at Deirdre’s house, I told Deirdre about the connections. They also took her by surprise.

Upon returning home, I was eager to run in and tell Jennifer, but I was too late. They had already contacted them. Marilyn said the email started, “I don’t believe in coincidences…” The email made her cry. Marilyn shared with me that 2 weeks ago, Trish and John were on her mind, too. Apparently, Marilyn/Jennifer and Trish/John had lost contact with each other for at least the past 4 years. Trish and John went on to make a monetary donation to Including Kids in honor of Patrick and in memory of Patrick’s grandfather.  Best of all, they were back in contact with each other.

The mathematical probability of this happening is unlikely, but there it was–my “Touch” moment. There was a string that connected all our lives and it took this particularly sad event of my father-in-law’s passing for all the pieces to be revealed.

Have you ever had moments such as these? Please feel free to share in the comment section.

UPDATE FEB 2013

Trish and John subsequently made donations to my son’s school for autism, Including Kids. In January, their son came down to see if a particular career path was right for him or not. Where was he? At Patrick’s school. He had been down for 3 weeks and one day I went in to volunteer and we met. This was almost a full year after my father-in-law passed away. If he does decide to move here, we may also have some part-time work he can do directly with Patrick at home. The connections continue.





Touch — Review and Synopsis

26 01 2012

Touch

It has been a long time since I have been profoundly moved by a television show that has left me feeling hopeful regarding the interconnectedness of humanity. For anyone who believes things happen for a reason, this will be your new favorite show. Having previewed their new baby on Wednesday, January 25, 2012, Fox will enjoy seeing news about this series spread in the coming months. When it debuts on March 19, 2012, it will be seen around the globe in more than 100 countries within 3 days’ period of time and try to achieve a level of connectedness by the fan-base as never before. Arguably it has been something people have been complaining about for quite some time about the US or Canada having exclusive access to a show, and other countries having to wait to see it, sometimes many weeks, sometimes many months, sometimes never, which leads to seeking access on torrent sites which ultimately results in the demise of a show because no one is live-viewing it anymore.

The story centers around Martin Bohm (Kiefer Sutherland) and his son, Jake Bohm (David Mazouz). Labeled “severely autistic”, Martin never believed in the diagnosis given to his child and seems to be just trying to do whatever he could to make a connection with his son, yet fully accepting and loving his child at whatever place he was (very Son-Rise-esque).

I am a mother with a child with severe autism. In the weeks leading up to the show, I seemed to be getting a lot of negative feedback about that–not ANOTHER show about another kid with autism–as if autism is the célèbre-du-jour of Hollywood. Indeed kids or adults with autism were turning up everywhere on every show either as part of the main cast or as a guest star. There are a few shows that got it right, but most did not. Most people with autism are not savants (only about 10%). While parents with autism appreciate the desire to bring awareness to the spectrum disorder, when it is depicted incorrectly, it hurts our cause. The general population has grown tired of hearing “My child has autism.” They scoff at you like you are just part of the misguided parents who need to have a diagnosis for their child. Or, you have the medical community trying to reclassify the spectrum of autism to water it down so it does not appear to be an epidemic (a blog for a later time). Even I started viewing this show with a bias.

From this point forward, there will be spoilers:

The show opens with a narrative from Jake about numbers very similar to the a belief borne from the red string of fate, a Chinese legend that said the gods tie an invisible red string around the ankles of those that are destined to be soul mates and will one day marry each other. The two people connected by the red thread are destined lovers, regardless of time, place, or circumstances. This magical cord may stretch or tangle, but never break, a concept very similar to soul mates. But Tim Kring, the creator of Touch, twists this idea even further to tie a group of individuals together.

Fans of Jericho (or Three Rivers or Hawaii-Five-O) will be thrilled to see that Carol Barbee is executive producer on this pilot. Executive producer Peter Chernin now has another hit on his hands after enjoying great success with Terra Nova and New Girl, also on Fox. Also sharing executive producer co-credits are Katherine Pope (also of Terra Nova and New Girl), Kiefer Sutherland, and producers, Neal Ahern, Jr., (Terra Nova, Parenthood), and Dennis Hammer (Heroes, Crossing Jordan).

The show opens with Martin at his job at the JFK airport in New York where he is gathering a bunch of cell phones, that were left in the lost and found and unclaimed, for his son who is fascinated by them. One of them rings as he is walking away. Apparently it is the owner of one of the phones trying to get the phone back after losing it at Heathrow Airport in London 2 days previously. He is not looking to get back the phone itself, but rather photographs within the phone. Apparently it is her birthday “tomorrow” but he is now in Mumbai. And he seems to be in great emotional distress. Martin’s phone is ringing so he places the man’s phone down in a bin. His son is in trouble. “I pay your school good money to keep my son safe. Are you grasping me?” Oh yes, I was relating to this character very much.

He’s off to talk his son down off an electricity tower, and I mean that literally. Meanwhile, the cell phone gets mixed up on top of some luggage. Jack Bauer is scared of heights? What? Oh wait, wrong show. It is hard NOT to put Kiefer automatically into the role of Jack. The workers want to know if the numbers 318 have any special meaning to Jake but Martin shrugs it off. A report to child services is going to need to be made.

On the way home, they stop at a gas station. Martin gazes at his son in the rear-view mirror while gazing over at the school bus filled with children talking and acting like normally developed children. My heart sinks. I know EXACTLY what this character is feeling. How many times have I done this with Patrick, just for a brief second wondering what life would be like? Martin and I share a common bond in addition to the fact that they are our only living child so we know really no other kind of life. He looks into the rear-view mirror and his son is gone, having taken off to go over towards the bus. Another similarity to autism–so I’m still very hesitant. How many of us turn away for a second and our kids with autism take off? Martin talks to his son like one would talk to their loved one in a coma, hoping that something they say will jar their loved one to respond in some way, desperately longing for that contact. I have been in this place, too, where Patrick was seemingly catatonic (but very noisy, unlike Martin’s Jake). Martin notices the number on the bus: District No 318. In the store, the TV is showing a story on “The Children of 9/11” and the struggles they endure. A man is trying to buy a Lotto ticket. Jake looks up as the man calls out the numbers: 87 1 9 20 31 11. Jake grabs the Lotto ticket and runs to the car, locking the doors. He writes down these numbers on pages of numbers he already wrote previously and hands the ticket back. The man says, “You ought to keep that kid in a cage.” Oh yes, that is something we’ve had to endure hearing before.  But this is actor Titus Welliver from “Lost” so I expect dark mystery to surround him.

Then we see a beautiful young singer, Kayla Graham (Karen David) on stage, surrounded by her fans, recording her performance on a cell phone that looks very similar to the one found at JFK. She does not believe she’ll ever be a big star. Her co-worker, Niles Borne, (Simon Delaney), tries to encourage her, saying half the company was there to support her tonight. He tells her that we all have a destiny, and hers is to be a big star. The cell phone, he believes, is the key. He found that the cell phone had traveled all around the world and now her recording was on it. The phone apparently right now is in Dublin, Ireland. He sticks the cell phone into the luggage of someone headed to Japan and away the cell phone goes.

An alarm set for 3:18 goes off at Martin’s computer. He goes in to put Jake to bed. Jake has apparently lined up cell phones. He mentions that the doctor said he was going to grow up bigger than him and how was that going to work? I’m already living that. I’m 5’3″ and my 16-year-old son is now 6 feet tall, and has seizures. The cell phones go off. Jake has all of them programmed to show the numbers 87, 1, 9, 20, 31, 11.

A family in the Middle East, Baghdad, is the next bunch introduced. The son is trying to imitate Chris Rock and wants to be a comedian. They need an oven to keep their bakery. It will cost 800,000 dinar (about $687 US dollars). The only way to make that kind of money is with shady characters who make people blow themselves up. His friend suggests they check out Hassam’s place.

Clea Hopkins (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) from family services shows up at Martin’s door the next morning. One reality disconnect: They do not show up that quickly. I already dislike this woman, so she did a great job as an actress. She lists his inadequacies as a parent, supposing that the state could do a better job. Another reality disconnect: The writers did not Google: State facilities, Texas, fight clubs, Department of Justice report, Corpus Christi. “The financial challenges will only increase as your son gets older.” I can relate to that statement, but do you know what the first thing is to get cut when state budgets are on the line? Yep, people with disabilities. Good thing Martin lives in New York versus, let’s say, Texas.

Martin shares that his wife died in the 9/11 tragedy (making Jake a child of 9/11–see above).  While Clea is trying to “talk” with the silent Jake, Martin sees the numbers in the newspaper: The numbers belong to the new Lotto winner. The man (Randall) who bought the ticket realizes he is a winner and places a phone call to a woman. He says he wants to come home now.

Simon (the owner of the cell phone now off to Japan) is on a plane and calls a woman. He is on his way to Tokyo. He wants to be there for “her” birthday (the child) but the woman is short on conversation. She also appears to be in emotional pain. My first thought was a divorce. He asks her if they took any photographs of Lily while they were on vacation besides for the ones on his phone; a tear streams down her face as she says no.

Clea tries to explain the strange coincidence off as it being part of Jake’s autism, which Martin insists is NOT his diagnosis. Martin said that for all he knows Jake does not speak because he has nothing to say. Martin says he is trying to communicate; Clea belittles his thought to wish fulfillment. Her character then starts softening up, trying to say no one is judging him (but they are).

A young Japanese woman goes through the bag of the man who came from Ireland, the one with the cell phone in his bag. She and her friend, Izumi, are in a fan club of a group called “The Morticians” who are from Ireland (actually a band based out of Waco, Texas). The man lives in Tokyo but wants to have some fun with the young girl before going home. She grabs the cell phone in his bag and leaves.

Back in New York, Martin is leaving Jake at the boarding facility. Obviously no research has been done here either. These state facilities do NOT look like this gorgeous facility. My heart wrenches for Martin not only for having to leave his son in one of these places, but also that he cannot even hug him to say goodbye. Personally, I’d skip the country and run. No one is ever taking my kid from me. Martin then goes to visit the grave of his wife, Sarah. He says, “They say God never gives you more than you can handle. But I think he has this time.” Oh dear, the tears start streaming from my eyes. How many times have I felt and said the exact same words, or felt extreme anger at people who have said that to me, not having the slightest clue what our lives are like. He looks down to find a FDNY badge with the numbers 318 on them.

The Japanese girls see Kayla Graham’s video and decide to start up a fan club as they believe she is probably already a big star in Ireland. They are going to enlist the talents of their friend, Takezo, who runs the Jumbotron at Shibuya. They will get him to download “everything” on that phone and put it up on the Jumbotron (you can see where this is going). They’ll pass the phone to another client at 4:00 p.m. , who is catching a plane to Kuwait in 3 hours.

A search for mutism and cell phones leads Martin to the door of The Teller Institute that lists the following: Mysticism, Mythology and New Age interpretation; a rise in diagnosing behavioral disorders; for a select few, mutism is a false diagnosis; this is a beginning in a shift of consciousness. (Okay, now I’m thinking Mayan 2012 theories here). We are witnessing an evolutionary step (I’m thinking Alphas here). We must listen to their message. How string theory and quantum entanglement…. (I’m thinking Fringe). The geek that I am (and conditioned Lost fan) looked up the link to http://www.tellerinstitute/electromagnetism.html but it does not exist. He gets an address to this institute: 318 West Tesla Street, Bronx, NY. SWEET. It would have been really great if the address actually existed. A bath-robed Professor Arthur Dewitt (Danny Glover) answers the door. He talks about electromagnetism and that some kids (mostly) are just tuned into the right frequency. Interestingly, he gets Martin an orange soda, the same kind Jake drinks. Apparently Jake has discovered the Fibonacci mathematical sequence on his own. He shows him pictures of the curve, similar to how Jake lined up the cell phones. “The universe is made up of precise ratios and patterns. You and I–we don’t see them. But if we could, life would be magical beyond our wildest dreams, a quantum entanglement of cause and effect where everything and everyone reflects on each other. Every action, every breath, every conscious thought connected. Imagine the unspeakable beauty of the universe he sees. No wonder he doesn’t talk. ” Martin, excited, responds, “My son sees all that?” The professor continues, “Your son sees everything–the past, the present, the future. He sees how it’s all connected.” Martin responds, “You’re telling me my son can predict the future?” The professor adds, “I’m telling you, it’s a roadmap. And your job now, your purpose, is to follow it for him. It’s your fate, Mr. Bohm. It’s your destiny.” I now have complete chills. I see the parallels of my own life being reflected in this story. My Patrick has accomplished a great deal in his 16 years on this earth; my purpose is for him to fulfill his destiny. I have often felt like his conduit.

Back at the school, Clea becomes a believer when Jake uses popcorn to make the numbers 2, 1, 2, 9, 2, 0, 6, 9, 2, 2, the numbers which was her mother’s phone number. And then her cell phone rings with that number. He goes over to circle 18 on the March calendar.

The Lotto winner is headed to Lynchburg, Virginia.

Martin looks at Jake’s numbers again and gets a phone number. Using modern technology, he puts it into the reverse phone numbers feature of a web site and it comes up as Grand Central Station at 87 East 42nd Street. Eighty-seven is the first number of the Lotto sequence. Clea knocks on his door; 3/18 is “today.” Martin is not sure if he is supposed to stop something from happening or make something happen, not only to happen on 3/18 but AT 3:18. Twenty-two minutes to Grand Central Station? Yeah, right. He better live close-by. When he locates the phone, there is a man talking on it. When he turns him around, he realizes it is the man from the store, the one who punched him. Now Martin punches back. The police break up the fight. It’s now 3:19 and Martin thinks he has failed.

Back in Iraq, a group of men walk in on the young boy at Hassam’s and they hide. They have a bunch of cell phones, including the one with Kayla Graham’s recording on it. A little girl sees them, but does not appear to give them away, but one of the terrorists comes back in. They catch him. He tells them about the oven and you can see the evil in their eyes. You know they are going to make him do something bad.

Back at Martin’s the 3:18 alarm goes off again on his computer; he notices there is a message on his answering machine. Randall Meade is calling him. Randall Meade who won Lotto; Randall Meade who was on the phone at Grand Central Station leaving Martin a message on his answering machine. He was a fire fighter on duty who tried to save his wife that tragic day. He was part of Ladder Company 318 on 9/11. He went to the 87th floor of the North Tower. His wife was alive, barely conscious and bleeding pretty badly. He carried her down 31 flights of stairs, but could not carry her any further. He convinced himself that she was dead, but the truth was he was not sure if she really was. He had been thinking about her for 10 years and had been playing the same lotto numbers every week for 10 years. 9, 11, 2001, 87th floor, 31 flights of stairs. He had wanted to try to make the numbers come out right. He was going to give all the money away. Then Martin hears himself on the phone answering machine, the encounter that happened at Grand Central Station. Then he hears Randall Meade’s name on the TV. Apparently the bus from the gas station had overturned in a bad rain storm. He pulled the kids from a burning bus. He said to the reporter if he had not missed his train, he would not have been there. Martin heads out to see his son, but his son escaped the state facility. Martin still does not know the further repercussions of this red thread.

Flash over to the Jumbotron where Simon, who is now in Tokyo, tries to call his phone: 44, 077, 0090, 0488. He gets Kayla Graham who is back at her day job. He wants her to find out where his phone is, but it is in “an invalid territory.” Kayla appears on the Jumbotron. He pleads with Kayla to please help him. Lily’s picture is in there, his daughter who died a year ago. Simon looks up at the Jumbotron and sees Lily’s pictures. It brings some peace to a grieving father. In Iraq, Simon’s phone rings. It is hooked up to a bomb that is now attached to our character’s chest. He pleads with Kayla to tell the world he was not a bad person; she tries to help him not explode. With all these wonderful connections, my heart was hoping this young man wouldn’t be blown up, that he would get his happy ending, too. Kayla tells him there is always a choice. They bond over Chris Rock. She asks him what would make him not do this. He tells her, “An oven.” She knows a guy (Simon) in restaurant supplies.

Martin and Clea find Jake at the tower. Jake narrates again: “The ratio is always the same: 1 to 1.618 over and over.”  Kayla’s co-worker sees her video on YouTube with 1,621,318 views. Simon makes it home to his wife. Martin overcomes his fear of heights and climbs the tower to talk to Jake. Jake says, “Will these words be used to hurt or to heal?” Randall gets on a bus to Virginia. Martin tells Jake that he followed the numbers and people were saved. “I don’t know if you can even hear me, but I can hear you, Jake?” I’m sobbing at this point. How many times have I said this to my nonverbal son? Jake crawls over to him and for the first time in Martin’s life, gave Martin a hug. I have raccoon eyes by now; my mascara is flowing everywhere. I remember the first time my child gave me what I call a half-hug. My dear friend who I shared my glee with said to me that she appreciated me sharing these things with her because it made her appreciate her neurotypical child even more. She never realized the things she took for granted, the comment that made me realize that Patrick’s purpose was for people to appreciate the people in their own lives and not take even simple things as eye contact for granted.

Jake grabbed Martin’s cell phone and pointed him on his next mission: 718-673-5296

Where I end my belief is this: How does Martin’s phone still work in that monster rainstorm?

My message to Tim Kring: Season 1 of Heroes was awesome. Touch has the possibility of great things that may start people thinking more about the ripple effect of their own actions, and acting more kind to each other. Don’t screw it up, okay? Save Touch, Save the world.





Twelve Hours

19 01 2012

Twelve Hours…half the number of episodes of the series “24”.  Or in geekdom terms, the amount of time it takes to watch all three extended-edition versions of The Lord of the Rings trilogy with appropriate bathroom and snack breaks if one hurries.  At 4:00 a.m. I was thinking about shadows in the Mines of Moria. At 3:55 p.m., a phone call delivered to me the light of Elendil.

Already it has been a week since my friend was buried, and the day was similarly splendid in terms of weather.  A good start to any day.  I believe that to create change, you have to be proactive, so I was off to see a counselor. There is wisdom in the balance of body-mind-spirit; my triangle in the last year has looked more scalene than equilateral. Thomas Merton said, “Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.”

At 3:55 p.m., I received an unexpected phone call from my nephrologist. Phone calls taken between 3:50 and 4:10 p.m. with 936 area codes usually are bus drivers telling me Patrick is having a seizure somewhere along the drive home.  After a few seconds to readjust that this phone call is about me and not Patrick, I said something to the effect that I wasn’t expecting him to call (before my appointment) so this must be very bad news. I am looking at my clock thinking, “Oh crap, and Patrick is going to be walking off the bus any minute.” I put my elbows on the kitchen counter, closed my eyes and took a deep breath. On the contrary, he says. My labs came back normal and my creatinine was going way down as was my urine protein. (Can I get a “Frack yeah?”) I asked, “So is it that “minimal change disease” thing? “Minimal change disease…sort of.”

“Good God,” I think to myself. “I have yet another “disease variant.” Honestly, if I’m going to have all these “disease variants”, I DEMAND a really sexy superhero costume with a cool name.  Biohazard doesn’t have the same ring to it as say DV Girl!

To make a long story short, this is the second best possible news.

Our game plan is this: I stop taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication. We do an allergy re-challenge of Ultram for my pain (to take if I’m desperate) and hope it doesn’t increase my intracranial pressure due to my pseudotumor cerebri issue like it did before, which after 5 years has been under decent control.  I will continue losartan to keep the protein in my urine down. I do NOT have to take immunosuppressive medications. I go back to see him in March (birthday month!).

Just 12 hours after my post I got answers I was not expecting for another 16 days, 12 hours, 30 minutes give or take a few minutes, but who’s counting?  Which begs the next question:  Is the internet God?

–Hilda  





Shadows to Shade

18 01 2012

I’m scared.

There. I actually wrote the words down; I wasn’t sure if I could. Many know I’m grieving right now, but few know how scared I am. Not a panic that I feel when I try to sing in public; not my posttraumatic stress disorder panic and anxiety related to certain medical procedures that remind me of an assault that occurred in my 20’s and/or my recent hospitalization for whatever happened to my arm that resulted in that horrible infection I had. This is…..something else.

I’ve been in denial about it for several months, believing from head to toe that if I thought it was NOT true, it would turn out not to BE true–the power of positive thinking. Names have great power; I did not want this to have any power.

When I found out last Monday that my friend, Diane, died, it snapped me back to semi-reality and I accepted that my test results on Friday would come back positive (as my doctor had informed me they would), but the question of what it was and to what degree still lurked in the shadows.

Shadows remind me of my childhood in our tenement in Brooklyn where this spine-chillingly vicious dog lived that would lurch out and try to bite me every time I went up the stairs. Shadows were the bad things that were about to happen to me in the rooms of my home most of my so-called childhood. Wondering, when I was age 4-5, if the wife could survive the beating from her husband in the shadows under the neighbor’s door. Shadows are the terrors that torment you, the face you see in every person after you’ve been told at age 9 that your stepfather may show up one day and try to kill you. Shadows of the life you would never have had when your mother tells you she wished she had aborted you (and meant it). Shadows are the abandonment you feel at age 14 when she tells you to leave and take only what you have bought with your own money with you. And the shadows that stretched from her grave to crush my heart one last time when my sisters found their baby pictures while going through her stuff, confirming that when she laughed in my face when she said she threw mine out, that I guess she really did. The only evidence of my existence that I was in her life are in those pictures I happened to be in with my sisters. Thrown away into the shadows of garbage she felt I was.

I was about 14 months old here; the earliest picture that exists of me now. My sister, Eva, holding my hand. I was a cute baby!

After all I’ve been through and all I’ve seen, to say I’m scared now seems illogical. The tests did come back positive, but there seemed to be more questions now after the kidney biopsy than answers. A lot of blood work was drawn after that visit–more shadows.  Yet, there is a difference.  There is trust, great trust, in those caring for me that is helping to keep the shadows in their place.

On February 3, I hope we will be able to modpodge some of the puzzle.  Names have great power, even names things are not. Until then, I remain in….shade.





Immortality and Legacy

14 01 2012

Immortality on this earth would be something I would gladly choose if I could stay the way I looked at 25 years old forever with the wisdom of who I am now. It would be sad to see family and loved ones die, but despite my incredibly dysfunctional first half of my life, it’s been a blast. There was so much more I want to do. So many careers that take many years to learn. So many arts to master. So many places to visit. So many people to meet.

Me around age 27

Hilda at age 25

Knowing this was unrealistic in at least my lifetime, I had the next best plan. I was on my way in my youth to becoming the first Air Force woman combat fighter jet pilot, who was also a medical doctor, who then applied to the space program and became the first woman astronaut who flew the Mars mission or lived on the moon base. Then I would work in third-world countries where I would spend the rest of my years eradicating the diseases of the world, of body, mind and spirit, where in my spare time I would learn about people’s religions and cultures as I moved from village to village all over the world. I had no desire to get married. The children of the world I would informally adopt. I had a strategic plan to achieve all that. I wanted to find a way to eliminate poverty, to free the world of prejudice and hate. I wanted to be a blazing comet that set the world on fire, a world that would remember me for leaving it a better place before I departed. But as a teenager with a strict plan, you don’t plan on curveballs.

Hilda at age 25

In 2011, I had an unusual number of friends pass away. In October, after one of them passed away, I became more acutely aware of the need to be more proactive in some of my friendships I had neglected. Although we were in contact by email, phone and Facebook, my friend, Diane, had become unable to drive. Since 2009, I have wanted to drive over to Channelview to meet her for lunch, but my health was not good and I found myself too busy fighting with school districts to take what seemed like a very long drive (I thought it was closer to Beaumont for some reason) to see her. I knew the holidays were coming. I barely had time to schedule a kidney biopsy in the month of December before the year ran out. I promised her that after the holiday madness was over, we would pull out the calendar and figure out which weekend she was on call and which weekend I was on call and get make a date for the one of the other two weekends (we both worked for the same company, her since 1993, but I had known her since at least 1989 or 1990).

She celebrated her birthday on Thursday, January 5. Although I knew that she loved Hoops & Yo-yo from Hallmark, I wanted to surprise her with something else and got her a Darth Vader card. Then it occurred to me that I did not know if she had even WATCHED the Star Wars movies. Having confirmed she saw the first one that was all she needed to know to understand the card. Thursday night I became unwell. Saturday an email awaited me. I was in bed until Monday afternoon. At 3:20 p.m., I scanned through my emails upon which time I saw the email that let me know my friend, Diane had died on Saturday.

Diane was a star in the sky. She lived in this area all of her life. She had a huge family. She was many things to many people–mentor, educator, teacher, sister, daughter, aunt, great aunt, and friend. She talked about her nieces and nephews and then great nieces and nephews with such love and pride. There were so many of them, it was so hard to keep them straight. I knew Diane before I got married to my husband. She was there when I got married, when I got pregnant and miscarried, when I got pregnant and had Patrick, when Patrick was diagnosed with autism, my journey with that. She was my ear, a person I vented to, my cheerleader, Patrick’s cheerleader. Once she got on Facebook, I talked to her more than my own sisters. In the past 2 years with Patrick at his new private school and the huge progress he was making, she “liked” every comment, and on some left “woo-hoo’s” and some beautiful notes that would make my heart either swell with pride or my eyes swell with tears of joy.

Brandy & Diane

She had a fierce sense of humor. As diabetes kept claiming more parts of her slowly, there came a point where a toe had to be amputated. She made jokes about it. She said, “Asked the podiatrist to trim my toenails but also asked him if he’d give me a discount since I now have only 9 toes. Actually he didn’t charge me anything as I’m still considered seeing him for surgical followup. Anyway, thanks for thinking of me and for the beautiful plant and for just being you.”

She knew, too, that my birthday is on St. Patrick’s Day. However, on February 17th, 2010 I received a birthday card (I think it was an e-card). I emailed her at 1:12 p.m. and said, “Thanks for the birthday card. The words I need to remember because in 20 minutes I’ll be at Patrick’s school. Just one teeny, tiny thing. It’s not until March 17. St. Patrick’s Day. But I will take it as a divine-inspired intervention that I need to be polite to these people today, don’t necessarily have to cave-in, but they aren’t to blame for the director being a bully. They are going to unfortunately be her victim as well if no one can get control of his individual. Think good thoughts. My stomach is in knots. I feel like I want to puke. I imagine I’ll be shaking uncontrollably by the time I come home.” At 1:34 p.m., an email arrived that said, “After I sent it, I realized it wasn’t St. Patrick’s Day yet! Maybe I just needed to tell you I was thinking of you?? Love, Diane.” We had many letters of correspondence like this.

For 45 minutes on Wednesday, people got up and shared perhaps 1 story they had about Diane. Or just stories in general. I didn’t realize we were going to do this so I was ill-prepared. For most people, they had people laughing. After 4 days of rain and flooding, Wednesday was 70 degrees and beautiful; the next day would usher in below freezing temperatures. If you were going to have to say goodbye to a treasured loved one, Wednesday was the best day to do it.

Diane’s niece Brandy did not recognize me until I said Patrick on Diane’s Facebook page, and then knew immediately who I was. Of course! That is why I am PBMom. I’m Patrick Bowen’s mom. (People always think it is Peanut Butter Mom).  But we immediately recognized each other when I entered the funeral home.

The entire drive home, I thought about my own inevitable death, what people might take the time to actually come to a service, what would be said about me. After Jeff returned home, I sobbed in his arms, saying that I felt like I had failed in this life because I did not become what I had set out to be. Some things I let go of by choice; some things because there was no choice.

A fan rendering of a concert performance.

He did not understand what I was saying. He said he spent his whole life caring too much about what other people thought of him that he could care less what people thought of him when he died. And I sat there not understanding how you could NOT care. Isn’t that what our purpose here is? Aren’t we supposed to make the world better while we are here (and I’m not talking about political differences, but the benefit of humanity in the interest of humanity, like elimination of hunger, poverty, homelessness, illness, etc., not the ideologies of how to achieve that)? Aren’t we supposed to want to be the next Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or Louis Pasteur or Marie Curie? With our blood line ending with Patrick, and unless autism is cured, he is unlikely to become a father since he is unable to take care of himself, we have no one to remember the stories of us to pass down to future generations so we have to find other ways.

Hamman Hall, Rice University, 1986-1987? during my "steroid" days that gave me Cushing's disease.

I know what Patrick’s purpose in this life is. He has changed the hearts of so many. He has inspired at least 2 young people to want to be teachers. He was the reason why I started the first special needs ministry ever in The Woodlands in 1998-2005 at St. Anthony of Padua and because of that ministry and the people who came forward to help, so many people who needed help were helped. I often felt like I was being Patrick’s conduit but also a conduit of hooking up those people who needed help with those people who could help.

The next day, Brandy posted on my Facebook page that she was going through Diane’s things and found a picture of Patrick and a picture of Jeff and me. I misread the note thinking it was a picture of all three of us in the same picture, something that rarely occurs. She responded: “It was a picture of your son when he was younger. It looked like he was playing in the yard and then there was a separate picture of you and your husband that she had beside the picture of Patrick. I knew immediately who it was but, to make sure I flipped it over because she always wrote who was in the picture on the back and the age of the kids or the year that it was taken. She had it in her family album. It was in amongst pictures of her great nieces and nephews. 🙂 “I honestly felt Patrick had been invited to Jesus’ table for dinner because I knew how she felt about her nieces and nephews. I responded: “I knew Patrick was special to her, but I never knew that. And knowing the immense love and pride she had for all of you, that she loved him so much to place him among you all. Wow. I miss her SO much. Thank you for telling me that. My love and thoughts are with you all today. It must be so difficult going through her things.”

And I burst into tears.

Is being Patrick’s conduit, being known as PBMom, such a bad thing? No, it’s not. But I would rather be the one who figures out the puzzle that is autism and/or cures it so not one more family has to go through this. Or perhaps stumbles upon the fountain of youth where I can become immortal and go back and do all the things I originally planned on doing.

Patrick-- The PB in the PBMom

What do you hope people will say about you when you pass beyond your earthly bonds?





My Other Son

25 08 2011

My baby in utero, Matthew Joseph Bowen, died at 20 weeks. Today was the approximate date of his death, although it could have been Aug 24; we are not quite sure. His due date was approximately Feb 18, 1994 and he would be reaching the milestone of being age 18 near Feb 18, 2012.

The milestone-age years are a little harder for me to cope. On top of the not so fun day I had on Aug 24, 2011, this one is going to be difficult.

Vatican Angel

Vatican Angel Available at Northstargallery.com

I see shadows of him in my house, go through in my eyes what I imagine would be a typical day with him, excited to be a senior in high school.  He might be in love for the first time with a girl or a boy. He might have had his heart broken many times already. I think he would have been smart, charming, good at least 1 sport and play at least 1 musical instrument. He would have been caring of others, stood up for others being bullied, he would have respected authority figures. We would have started looking at colleges he wished to attend or alternate schools to create a profession.

But now, he has a very important job, being Patrick’s special guardian angel, and comes to me to support me through very difficult parts of my life. I feel his energy, the essence of who he was while still in my womb, and it has a unique signature that is not confused with any other possible thing.

I miss you, Matthew. I talk to Patrick about you and sometimes I wonder, when we say prayers, if you two are not giggling with each other, because Patrick is looking up in the air at something, smiling and giggling like it’s his little secret.

Please come visit your mother today; she really needs to feel your spirit. My first child and sweet boy, although I never got to hold you, I wait for the day that I can. Just come visit as you have before so I can take comfort that you are still there watching over us.

I allow myself to cry for you on just this one day; the rest of the year I serve to honor your memory by helping those grieving the loss of their children. 

On this day, however, I await you.