Up To The Hill

Capitol Hill with Elizabeth

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

With Shannon at the Capitol

By seven forty-five I made my way to the lobby. John Madigan, Trevor Summerfield, Lindsey Browning, (AFSP staff) were already there. As soon as she saw me, Lindsey gave me a print out of my bio to include in the folders for the NY Senators and Congresswoman. I was pleased with the efficiency of the organizers. Like a mother hen, John Madigan circled around making sure everybody was alright, ready and prepared.
By eight o’clock we boarded the bus and left for The Hill.
The butterflies in my stomach had nothing to do with the fact that I had yet to prepare my presentation. Like packing, I leave these things to the last-minute. No, my tummy was aflutter with purpose, with the sense of mission I’d felt ever since I saw my beautiful son lying in his coffin. If you too had seen him, you would understand why I think of him as a Fallen Knight. My Fallen Knight had thrown me the gauntlet, and here I was, four months after his death, fully engaged in peaceful combat.
And yet it was the waters of sadness that kept me afloat. Glancing out of the bus windows as we drove past the Lincoln Memorial, I imagined the conversation Andrew and I would have had after reading Dan Brown’s Lost Symbol, we would have been pointing out Masonic Washington all around us. I know that we would have, and he would have also come up with the extra snippets he always had about all sorts of subjects.
But he was not sitting on the bus next to me, even though I knew he was there in spirit;
I am here because of you Andrew. I mentally told him. I am here because I cannot let your death be the end of you. I am here because you will never be yesterday’s news story.

“Reagan wanted to face West for his inauguration,” John’s voice brought me back to the present and I saw that we had arrived.
Over the hill and far away, the lines from a song from Andrew’s favorite band, Nightwish, came to my mind as I climbed out of the bus.
After individual and group photos, we dispersed to our various appointments. Mine, with Nita Lowey at the Rayburn Building, was not until twelve, yet I decided not to go on the tour of The Capitol kindly arranged by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

“Are you sure you don’t want to come?” Elizabeth kept asking. “There is plenty of time you know”
“I know, but I don’t feel like it,” I said, as we walked away from The Capitol towards Rayburn.
“But what will you do all that time? Our first appointment is not going to be for another two and a half hours,” she reminded me.
“I’ll sit in the cafeteria, have a cup of coffee, go through the papers and prepare my part of the presentation.”

Elizabeth had a cup of tea, sat with me for a while, then left to join the small group meeting in Nancy Pelosi’s office.
I got myself a cup of coffee, a huge apple fritter, settled down to study my brief and before I knew it, it was eleven-forty. I had enough time to go to the bathroom before making my way to the Congresswoman’s office…

See you tomorrow

11 thoughts on “Up To The Hill

  1. I’m missing the intensity of our time together. The people I met on and off the hill. The open hearts – wounded, but strong. THE CONNECTION… I felt so connected with everyone – their passion and their pain. I haven’t been able to write about it yet –

    I also felt close to the souls that were supporting us… Kerry, Andrew, and all the others.

    and YOU Esmeralda…….(tears) I am so happy we met. You give so much. THANK YOU!

    Much love to you, Monkey Me aka Shannon, Kerry’s Mom

  2. Shannon, you described an intensity and connection I recognized among survivors I met at a Prevent Suicide conference in my state that took place in November 2009 one year after my son died. I’m elated and not surprised that was your experience. How wonderful that you and Esmeralda met. 🙂

    • I so agree! I feel very connected to Esmeralda (how could you now) she’s an amazing spirit. I tried my best not to come across as a stalker, when confessing how closely I follow her written words.

      I think I remember Esmeralda mentioning that you live in Hawaii? am I remembering that correctly? A dear friend of mine who lives in Hawaii just posted his adventures with “Flat Ryan” – his take on “Flat Stanley” My sisters son school in Vermont sent it to him. I had just completed my own “Flat Jack” project – my interpretation was very different. ANYWAY…Steve’s is so fantastic that I included it as part of my blog post. Steve made certain Flat Ryan had a marvelous time in Hawaii – it moved me to tears…I love when people embrace endeavors from the heart! here is the link:


      if that doesn’t work, the site address is – greenmonkeytales.com and the name of the post is FLAT is where its AT

      Esmeralda, I don’t mean to hijack your comment space, but if you need a little break check out Steve’s FLAT RYAN IN HAWAII – the link is at the bottom of my FLAT is where its AT post.

      okay, time for me to write! another storm is brewing 🙂 xoMonkeyME

  3. Shannon, I guess I too must confess to briefly being a blog stalker of Forever Invictus but am now legit even though not disclosing my name. Perhaps Esmeralda explained my pseudonym’s purpose. Not all members of my family are comfortable disclosing that a member of the family died by suicide. Ironically however my moniker Is actually an authentic name someone dear calls me.

    I just finished reading Flat Ryan and enjoyed it thoroughly! Mahalo for sharing it. It is very accurate, cleverly written and incredibly age appropriate for elementary age children and yet contains humor adults can enjoy. I chuckled aloud not a few times–other flat children 😀 , Ryan wiping out, and the need to leave the volcano park if earthquakes began!!

    Esmeralda, you would enjoy reading it as would those who follow your blog. Shannon, another confession–I’ve stalked your blog too! 😉 I think my son would have wanted to go to Burning Man too. He was one to experience life fully and deeply without reservation. Peace to both of you while the elements storm around you. Take good care. Aloha~

    • I drove past the cemetery on my way to one of my favorite supermarkets. The devastation was incredible, HUGE, uprooted trees, b=enormous tree boughs broken EVERYWHERE, as though the dead in there weren’t dead enough I thought. Thank goodness My Andrew is with me on the altar in my bedroom.

      • Kerry is in the highest spot of my bedroom 🙂 the skylight above him, and the rush of the waterfall in front of him.

        My wonderful daughter Lindsay has some of his ashes. I have tossed some on Jim Morrison’s grave. The rest are here with me. oh, and I ate a bone (but I’ll save that for another day) He wrote once that he wanted his ashes tossed off the cliffs of Moher (in Ireland). We need to travel there…as a family. Until then, I keep them near me.

    • thank you ray of sunshine! Kerry nicknamed his fiance/mother of his child “Mary Ray Oh Sun” (her middle name is Rayfield)- I too now call her “Mary Ray Oh Sun”

      so…how do I stalk you??? thank you for reading me! it feeds the monkey in me!

      • Shannon, you can only find me here…reading and commenting in the nurturing community of Esmeralda’s blog. I am more an interactive reader than a writer/blogger.

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