Tag Archives: tragedy

A Continuum of Time

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Despite the horror unfolding around us both in this country and other parts of the world, life has an uncanny way of just plodding along. It’s almost like a two-tiered continuum, one filled with pain, terror, loss, and sadness, and one that holds the everyday, regular stuff of life. At least that’s how it feels to me right now. My work as a news reporter and editor currently keeps me focused on war, antisemitism, underserved populations, and social justice challenges. But, I also cover lifecycle events, community happenings, profiles of people doing amazing things, and other upbeat topics. I’ve also recently been faced with some practical challenges that sometimes leave me questioning whether to stay in my job or leave to find greener pastures. And alternatively, I learned I won a prestigious journalism award. So, you see, two tiers of life happening at the same time.

What to make of all of this? My mom used to say that all of life is yin and yang. The good is necessitated by the bad, the joy is sweeter because of the pain. Honestly, I thought it was ridiculous at the time. I couldn’t comprehend what she meant. I railed against loss, frustration, and disappointment. I raged at injustice as a completely unnecessary evil. And I shut out the thought of ever losing someone I love, ever.

The thing is, no matter how hard we try to hang onto our youthful idealism, life keeps on happening. It changes us. And I don’t mean to suggest change is bad. On the contrary, I believe change is both good and necessary. That was also a lesson I learned from my mom. In order to stay afloat in the stormy seas of life, it’s important to be both anchored, and buffeted by the wind. So, I remain optimistic and hopeful in the face of tragedy, but I also hold onto the lessons and memories of those who anchored me and even in their absence, continue to be my anchors.

I recently learned about a nonprofit organization that is working to rescue people in the Eastern part of Ukraine and get them to the safer Western part of the country. The rescue efforts began with children who are orphaned or in foster care, and now has expanded. I heard stories of bravery and fear, pain and joy, loss, and excitement for the future. Again, two things happening at the same time. In another part of the country, the Mayor of L’viv is planning a fundraiser to create a hospital to care for, and help rehabilitate, civilians who have lost limbs in the war, and to provide prosthetics to those who need them. A fundraiser while war rages all around. I’ve heard that in some parts of the country, it’s even hard to tell war is happening, while in others, cities have been reduced to rubble.

As for the mass shootings that have happened since I last wrote for this blog, I actually have nothing that makes sense of that. During the last month, a childhood friend lost a child to an accidental drug overdose, and I lost a cousin to pancreatic cancer. All these losses feel unreal, random, senseless. And they are.

So, what’s the flip side of these tragedies? I don’t think there is one. They are just horrible things that happened. Much like my younger self, I am filled with sadness, rage, and disappointment. Right now, it’s hard to see the other side, but my mom’s voice keeps me anchored while the storm blows around me. That voice inside that tells me to keep going, keep loving, keep giving to the world, keep hoping. I’m still here, still learning, still growing, still changing. Maybe someday it will make some sense.

About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the Editor of The Jewish Observer of Nashville, and a former small business owner.  Barbara loves writing, telling stories of real people and real events and most of all, talking to people all over the world.  The Jewish Observer newspaper can be read online at www.jewishobservernashville.org . and follow her on Instagram @barbdab58

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Exercising My Superpower


This past month has been eventful.  My husband and I celebrated a big anniversary with a Hawaiian vacation that included our three adult children.  The vacation was glorious, but traveling as a family of five adults is a challenge (although I’ll take the challenges over not being together any day of the week).  Added in was a recurrence of bursitis in my left arm that was painful and frustrating.  Our two-week sojourn also included a stay in Los Angeles, a drive up the coast to attend my niece’s wedding and a mad dash back to LAX for the return flight home.  And upon our return, our youngest son is now living with us while he attends graduate school.  Oh, and just before our trip, a leak in our upstairs HVAC resulted in drenched duct work and damage to the ceiling drywall.

I’m not complaining!  Well, actually, I’ve done a ton of complaining to my husband.  Thankfully he has very broad shoulders and has kept his cool.  Staying cool in the face of my emotional storms is one of his super powers.  And in the midst of the chaos, well maybe after some of it has passed, I try to remind myself how lucky I am to have a partner with truly superhuman patience.  In fact, sweetie, if you’re reading this (and I know you are), thank you.

And this week is my birthday, so there’s that.  I always feel a little melancholy around this time.  Every birthday since my parents passed is another reminder of what I’ve missed sharing with them.  I was so fortunate to have the kind of parents many kids long for.  They weren’t perfect by any means, but they were perfect for me.  They were my first teachers, my protectors and my biggest cheerleaders.  They loved me unconditionally and completely and they showed me how to do the same with my children.

Is there a lesson in all that has happened this past month?  I’m not sure.  Since last week, there have been three more mass shootings with little outrage coming from our nation’s lawmakers.  The erratic weather patterns around the world further highlight the threat to our planet.  And unstable and dangerous dictators in foreign countries threaten our nation’s democracy and safety.

One of my super powers is my ability to remain positive and optimistic in the face of life’s difficulties.  Right now, my powers aren’t as strong as they usually are.  But I will offer this: all of the current challenges we face are proof of our humanity.  What distinguishes us from other life forms and from machines is our resilience in the face of pain and tragedy and our ability to learn and grow from our mistakes and the misdeeds of others.  I am hopeful that our common humanity will give us the strength we all need to work together to find solutions and to honor our differences.  I believe it is our ability to love that elevates us and allows us to see the humanity in each other.

And when I feel really down, I head out to my summer garden and revel in nature’s creations and take pride in my accomplishments there.  This year, my sunflowers haven’t worked out as I’d like.  But I’ve had a bumper crop of squash, peppers and cucumbers.  Tomatoes are still going strong and I’m anxiously awaiting some eggplants to ripen.  More lessons learned.


About Barbara Dab

Barbara Dab is a small business owner, journalist, broadcast radio personality, producer and award-winning public relations consultant.  She is the proud owner of Nashville Pilates Company, a boutique Pilates studio in Nashville’s Wedgewood/Houston neighborhood.  Check it out at  www.nashvillepilatescompany.com.  She is also the creator of The Peretz Project: Stories from the Shoah: Next Generation.  The Peretz Project, named for her late father-in-law who was a Holocaust survivor, is collecting testimony from children of survivors.  Visit http://www.theperetzproject.com.  If you are, or someone you know is, the child of survivors of the Shoah, The Holocaust, and you would like to tell your story please leave a comment and Barbara will contact you.

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