My scrapbook was precious to me during those difficult years as a young teen. I loved getting lost in my world of magazine messages, poems or quotes that seemed meaningful and true. They were about love, friendship, gratitude, happiness, peace, karma, serendipity. Authors unknown, but words that resonated with me.
Repairing Rainbows has opened doors for many who now send me messages that are meaningful, comforting and beautiful. Authors unknown, but words that resonate with me.
And so, here I begin to share these messages and opinions in the form of an online scrapbook, a journal, a diary worth sharing . . .
Thank you for your fine book, Repairing Rainbows. It is an incredibly personal story that I feel privileged to have read, and I can’t believe you have managed to write it.
I am very sorry for the loss of your family that occurred on July 5th, 1970. Your life surely became a nightmare on that day, and in many ways it must continue as such, and the fact that somehow you have managed not only to survive the tragedy in such a positive fashion but furthermore write a book about it is extraordinary and inspiring.
But you haven’t just written any book, as difficult as that is: Repairing Rainbows is about as perfect and artistic an expression of its difficult events as one could imagine. The structure of the book kept me wanting to keep reading, and the concluding pages giving details of the séances were shocking and amazing, providing a much needed feeling of resolution. The literary style itself — the individual sentences — are also excellently executed, and it’s hard to imagine being able to improve it. It’s especially impressive too that the book was ‘self-published’, as the design and printing is utterly professional. I can imagine that the main reason that your book didn’t appear under a traditional publisher is that they would have requested changes that would have greatly undermined the impact of your story, and so I admire your bravery in wanting to see an accurate and forceful presentation of events.
I hesitate to comment directly about the events in the book as I don’t wish to give offence. On the other hand, by putting the book ‘out there,’ it invites thought and dialogue, so I will take my chances and say only a couple of things, hoping you will appreciate my good intentions.
I work in a building on Derry Road (the north perimeter of the airport), where planes fly closely, loudly, and frequently. I used to have nightmares about planes crashing and me running trying to help. I bet many people who work so close to the landing strips have such dreams, although I don’t believe I’ve had them for a while. I’ve always been bothered by what happened to the victims of Air Canada flight 621, especially hearing in recent years about the items being recovered in the Brampton field. There are obviously many, many tragic stories connected to the flight, most of which we will never hear, making it all the more precious and valuable that you have taken the time end effort to convey the effect of this tragedy on your family. It is indeed a part of Canadian history that should be heard and preserved, and your book is a wonderful achievement in addressing the long, dark silence that followed the crash for so many innocent people.
I was greatly troubled to learn of the callousness of Air Canada toward you, including the front-line, officious individuals over the years who have been unable to waive some of those nuisance charges for you (but who surely do it for other people at their discretion). The biggest companies are often the worst at handling these sorts of things, aren’t they? I used to think perhaps such issues were resolved more pleasantly in the days before computers, but your book has proven me wrong about that.
I identified with your early remark that, when looking at a successful person, it is tempting to suppose that things have been easy for that person (hence the success), when in fact it is often entirely the opposite. Your wise remarks (learned from your grandmother, who sounds a lot like my mother) about men and their second wives are also dead-on accurate; one sees this all the time, and indeed it has occurred among my own family. As a man myself, with a young child, I always try to bear it in mind and to remind myself that my son will always have to be “Number One” (as your Dad had called you) and to be on guard of efforts from others to change that (though of course I pray that I will never have to face such a situation and be tested). I wish your Dad could have handled it better, but as you recognized so well, he was tragically broken by the accident. It is hard to blame him entirely.
Your dad’s new wife should have been more thoughtful (you were only 13 and needed protection), but apparently she was incapable as a person. No doubt her life has a sad story of its own, and like all of us at some point she will have to face the consequences of her actions and inactions. It is surely right to avoid such negative people as much as possible, as little good can come of them.
Perhaps I feel most connected to you and your book because the tragedy occurred in the same general time and place as one in my family, namely the death of my older brother due to illness.
Sometimes I have wondered if he watches over me; it seems crazy, but now your book makes me wonder. I think also I have felt psychologically detached from reality, and I wondered if it might be connected to this loss I faced as a child. As a social worker you would surely know more about this. Perhaps it’s a standard response to grief, but I must say that my general feeling of psychological disconnectedness continues to this day. I would guess that you don’t feel this yourself, because your book reveals that you have quite vivid recall about childhood events, which I do not (yet?).
Repairing Rainbows also speaks strongly to me because despite the loss I faced when very young (which is not comparable to yours; I’m not trying to compare them), and despite my feeling of disconnectedness, and despite the damage that was done within our family (people don’t always come together as one might think or hope, do they?), I have more or less managed to look on the bright side of things. I don’t deny that I can tend toward a state of depression given the right conditions, but otherwise I would say that I am able to rationally appreciate the good things that life has brought, as you also remarkably seem able to do. I wonder if children or teenagers sometimes may be better able to cope with such tragedies than adults (not as a rule, but perhaps as a statistical tendency).
Like you, 9/11 left me in shock for weeks. As a student in Boston, I often flew out of that airport (from which the attacks were launched) and was well familiar with the lax security there. I was fortunate in apparently not directly knowing anyone killed on that day, although I did have friend-of-friend connections.
Ms. Fishman, there is no need for you to reply at length to my message, as I know you must be very busy, and there are people writing you with more urgent and interesting matters. I merely wanted to show that your book has provoked both thought and pleasure, something difficult to do, and so I thank you. I gave my copy of your book to my mother, and she too found the same contentment in it, no doubt recognizing in your book the same characters and motives that she has seen so plentifully in her life.
Thank you again.