Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Troubled Sleep - And the loss ...

The last time I looked at the clock it was after 5 this morning.

All day the tv slipped from channel to channel watching the events unfold throughout the day yesterday as the memorial for Peter Jennings rolled on. And throughout the day a sense of loss began to overshadow everything I did, and by the end of last night when I went to bed I was feeling an immense sense of loss, for a man I knew. Growing up in my house I had to use means to get away from the world I was in, and find the world outside. The one place I could do that was during the silence that happened during the dinner hour when we would watch the news. It was the only time "detente" was observed.

I watched the World News Every night even before Peter started anchoring the broadcast. And my need for the news became greater as I grew up. I watched the news each and every night it became ritual. And now at age 38 - the nightly (hour) news block is ritual in my home, first a dose of CFCF news then the World News Tonight show. And the same at 11pm, CTV National news and a little afterhours news from other outlets,

I have always likes to see the world from a journalistic point of view. And I can say that the man I am today has been shaped by the world that Peter Jennings gave me personally.

Not having a stable male person in my life, I latched onto every shred of decency I could find, from where ever I could find it. And as my life progressed - where ever it had ended up, I always returned to that tried and true voice of calm deliverance. And I realize just how much of an impact Peter had on my survival and growth.

When 9-11 happened, the first thing I did when I got out of bed that morning, was to turn to ABC news and By that time Peter had made it into the newsroom. Last night as I watched the memorials roll past me, they kept cutting away to him on that day 9-11, and yes, like so many young people who were running scared through the streets of life, Peter was there to say, "it's ok, we're gonna get through this" I am here now, so let's begin to unravel this tragedy and take stock of who is left and where our respective children are, "speaking to the adults watching" he said and I quote: "If you have a child somewhere else in the country...give them a call!"

That day I remember I called my mother, whom I was not talking to at the time, the war had already begun and she was not going to budge from her resentment. But I knew that either my sister in law or my brother had been in the Pentagon the morning that plane flew into the building. I was frantic to know if either of them were there when the plane crashed into the pentagon. All I wanted was to know that they were safe, and my mother would not give up that information. She would not tell me anything, that would have been a "good gesture" in her vernacular and it would give me information that I wanted. You see, my mother was not in the habit of giving me information that I wanted. I only got it by using the few ace cards I had left in my deck of cards.

Over the next 12 hours after the tragedy I watched the news - I have over 80 hours of videotape from that week and for the most part it is Peter sharing on the television that is on that video tape. I would sit up at night - over night - all night listening to his calm delivery of the days stats and news. I felt safe in my studio apartment, as if someone were really interested in how I was doing, I imagine many people felt calmed and safe in his "world news" capacity.

My mother finally gave up what I wanted but only after 13 hours of complete silence on her part. Yes, my mother was/is a cast iron CUNT! She knew how to put the screws to me emotionally and she abuses that knowledge even to this day. NO my brother and sister in law were NOT at the pentagon that day. Thank the creator.

So I watched and I would email him at the station, and I soon realized that some of my email would make it to the news desk and be slid over to him and I would see my words make it onto airtime news reporting. So like dad, I would tell him to relax and breath, to loosen his tie and be still and I would see him do that live on television, and for a brief few moments when my email would hit the news desk, he calmed and was ok. So I knew he was paying attention to those of us who would watch "Overnight" newscasts.

Last night, I realized that I would truly miss him, because he was a man of great wealth and courage. A man I looked up to as a young person, I learned about the world around me from the man on TV. A fellow Canadian. A fellow Quebeqer. I grew up over the better part of 38 years to a nightly dose of Peter Jennings vision of the world.

When I came to Canada, I still watched Peter share his world with me, because now I had to meter what I was hearing from up here about the U.S. against what he would tell us from his perspective. I was loyal to the cause of the World News Tonight broadcasts. His was the newsline that I measured against the news coming from Canadian and world news outlets. and that helped shape the way I studied the world from above the northern border. For the last 4 plus years I have been living in Canada, Peter was the voice I listened to from the U.S. and in his absence I have come to respect his colleagues at ABC news for picking up the mantle of responsibility now that he is gone.

When there is no father in your life, you grab hold of any man out thee who talks a a good talk and for the most part walks a good walk. Peter was one of those "fathers" who for the better part of 20 plus years he helped shaped the man I would become. The man I am today. And it is by that example and stature that this blog is built upon. I share the news from all sides, fair, balanced and unbiased, well ok, I am biased in some cases, but for the most part I try and present something to learn from, something to look at, even if you don't agree, I offer you a chance to broaden your horizons. I try to be a man "of the world."

I went to bed last night with a heavy heart, I did not sleep well at all. The last time I looked at the clock it was after 5 am, and i knew Peter was to be up for work soon after that. I remember him getting up, i looked around with groggy eyes. And I got up a little while ago, and for a few minutes I did not know what day it was, but i know it was 8:25 when i looked at the clocks. So i turned on the computer and let it boot up and i waited to see what the headlines were.

My pills were still sitting on the desk in the cup I place them in after the ritual before the medicine cabinet. Had I forgotten to take them, because I was sure I had last night???

I don't remember.

I finally got to sleep, because it was finally quiet in my head, I had an extremely disturbing nightmare then it got quiet. I remember at one point looking over from my side of the bed and seeing the bathroom light on, then the clicks of the door locks and he was gone. I waited till all was quiet then I got out of bed. I had slept less than 3 hours this morning.

One of my father's has died, and I am mourning his loss, a life taken way too soon, and I will miss his calm assurance each night but I am greatful for what I have learned from him and I know that during the 9-11 tragedy, I was one with Peter, during his shining hours as a father, friend, and "World News anchorman."

We will never see the likes of Peter Jennings ever again.

And that's the kind of day it's been so far, this 9th of August 2005.


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