This question is being asked a lot this week as we are approaching the 10th anniversary of 9-11. Like many on the West Coast, I was still in bed. After hitting the snooze button a couple times, I heard the very somber voices of Tim and Willy describing what had happened in New York. Because those two are generally very jovial in the mornings, I thought I was listening to some kind of gag.
But this was no gag – - I turned on the television and watched. I called my family. I called friends. I got myself to work so I could keep watching. I couldn’t stop watching.
HMA has had the opportunity over the past several weeks to work with and get to know Donna Killoughey-Bird. Donna’s husband, Gary, was in the first tower. For her the question, “where were you when” has an entirely different response.
It is about what I have learned from spending time with Donna. She is kind, funny, spiritual and most important…not bitter. Sure, she is angry that her husband is no longer around. She is sad that her children have grown up without their father. But, those feelings are not what define her.
“You can be angry and have that be who you are, or you can channel that energy into something more productive and fulfilling; that’s what I’ve chosen to do,” Donna said when we first met.
She works at St. Vincent de Paul as their development director, she is actively involved with her church and with the proceeds from this book she will fund educational scholarships.
We’ve all had to deal with grief. But unlike Donna, we have not had to live that out in the public eye. She has done so with grace, dignity and with a smile and kind word for everyone.