This week started out with the funeral of a dear woman who died too young leaving behind a wonderful husband and 2 amazing young daughters. I had already been planning to sit down and write this blog but then the end of the week provided even more food for thought.
I was sitting in gridlock this early Saturday morning because the only road from the north and east shores of Kauai was closed due to a traffic accident that had occurred 2 hours earlier. They must close the road completely in these instances because they have to perform the entire investigation and they just have to do it and take as long as they need and then they can open the road. That is just the way it is here. We don’t particularly like this, but it is the way it is, and we live with it.
Both of my children were at different activities at this time. My high school junior at a Key Club interschool meeting at a high school in Lihue, and my 8th grader was at Kauai Community College for Science Olympiad, also in Lihue. I was on my way down from Kapaa and my significant other was going to follow later in a second car. People could not go north at all, I was lucky, they had opened a detour to Lihue.
I was actually on the hands free blue tooth enabled cell phone with my S.O. telling him about my little adventure on the Cane Haul Road that was basically a series of potholes calling itself a dirt road and how much fun I was having trying to drive without bottoming out my LEAF when the most horrible sound I ever heard interrupted our call.
“This is not a drill, the early warning system has detected a ballistic missile heading to Kauai take shelter immediately, this is not a drill”
“What!?! Did you hear that too? A missile is heading here!!! Oh my God I love you so much and forever no matter what! I have to hang up and call my kids!!” My phone is already ringing, it is my high school girl, calling “Mommy there is a missile coming here!!” “Where are you baby girl, are you at the high school, are there adults there? Your friends? Please take shelter with them and always know that I love you so much and think you are so amazing always, no matter what happens, I love you and you will do amazing things!!” “Yes mommy, I love you too!” I hang up and call my ex-husband, “is our son with you?” “no, he is at the community college for the competition.” We hang up and are both heading there as fast as we can because he is alone. I have his cell phone because our plans changed last minute yesterday. My baby is alone in this horrible frightening moment. Will someone help him and comfort him?
I am lucky because at this time I have gotten to the end of that “road” and I am back on the highway. I am now driving and praying as fast as I can. I call my mother and SO back again and am talking to them about this. There is nothing on the TV, shouldn’t it be on the TV? I take them off blue tooth, so I can put the radio on “Get to shelter, if you are driving, pull over and lay flat on the floor of your car” I keep driving, I have to get to my son or die trying. I am at peace with my own life. I am almost 50, I have achieved my dreams, I have helped people, I have loved and lost, and I have these 2 amazing kids. But if I can get to my son so he is not alone that is what I am going to do!!!
I get to the Community College, where is everyone?
I rush to the hall, there he is. So beautiful, safe for the moment. No one knows what is happening, is there a missile coming? Did it hit somewhere? everyone is on a cell phone except him because I have his phone. “I love you honey!!” “I love you too mommy!”
At that point, I was ok. I was fine. I was still praying “please let this be a dumbass hacker pulling a prank”, “please let the missile land in the middle of nowhere”, “please let it be a mistake”. “Please, all these innocent children with bright futures, in this room with us alone: about 70 of the brightest middle and high school STEM kids, here to compete in Science Olympiad. Future astrophysicists, doctors, research scientists. Maybe the cure for cancer and the idea for how to live on Mars, the designer of the warp engine, maybe sitting in this room possibly wiped out by a missile from North Korea.
A false Alarm
Dr. Collins is interested in the health and well being of the individual, community, and planet.