What is Instinctual Vigilance? It helped a mother
find her daughter after six years of thinking she was dead.
Her child was supposedly burned to death when she was ten days old,
but six years later at a birthday party, the mother looked at the
child and knew she was hers. How? Find out.
Wednesday, March 3,
2004—Ground Zero Plus 903
A Mother's Vigilance--My Baby's Not Dead!!!
GROUND ZER0, New York, N.Y.--Mar. 3, 2004 -- Six years after her
10-day old baby was thought burned to death in a house fire, the
mother of the child looked into the eyes of a young girl at a birthday
party and became convinced the bubbling six-year-old was indeed the
daughter police and fire officials thought had been consumed in the
fire six years before.
was believed dead in a fire six years ago but was proven
To confirm her
suspicions, the woman pretended to remove some gum from the girl's
hair, and secretly clipped some strands of her hair, stuffing them
into her purse.
The "mother" of the
girl, Carolyn Correa, is a cousin of the child's real mother, Luz
Cuevas. Ms. Cuevas took the strand of hair to State
Representative Angel Cruz, a Democrat of Philadelphia, pleading for
his help in checking out her story. Her only evidence was
a comment someone had made at the birthday party that the child was
really Ms. Cuevas daughter, and, Ms. Cuevas instincts.
years earlier, the medical examiner and fire department had ruled the
baby died in the fire, and it consumed her body.
testing through the Vigilant actions of real mother Luz Cuevas
Mr. Cruz went to police officials who ran DNA samples on the hair,
confirming the child was Ms. Cuevas daughter. Then the
Philadelphia police asked for help from New Jersey authorities where
Ms. Correa lived. Ms. Correa submitted to DNA tests and
the child was taken from her and returned to her natural mother.
There is a powerful message in this bizarre story. It's
about Instinctual Vigilance.
Here is a mother who was told by officials her ten-day-old baby had
burned to death. There was "closure" from an "official"
viewpoint. Both the medical examiner and fire department ruled
the baby had died in the fire.
For six years, the burden of that child's death hung about the
shoulders of Ms. Cuevas. Then, looking into the eyes of a
six-year-old child, and hearing the suggestion that the child was the
woman's daughter, sparked the link between life and death.
Death certificates had been issued. Confirmations had been
made regarding the loss of the child. All the "legal"
elements of death had been punctuated. Why would the
mother "know" this was her child? What forces of Vigilance
overpowered the forces of Terrorism--the Terror of wanting to believe
the "dead" are "alive?"
It is hard for many to accept death. Some people
keep the death of others an arm's length away, so that the life of the
memory will not decay as the flesh does. Some argue that
keeping memories of the dead alive interferes with the present; that
honoring the dead hobbles one's ability to live life free of the
sadness and pain of the past tragedy. Others believe
honoring the dead as though alive is the highest of all tributes.
Somewhere between these two views is what I refer to as Instinctual
Vigilance. Instinctual Vigilance is about a knowledge one
has that no matter what things appear to be on the surface, there is
much more as you dig deep into the marrow of the meaning.
Death for some can be nothing but a punctuation point to life.
To others, it may be only a comma, a pause in the long sentence of
Ms. Cuevas had
more than a mother's instinct - she had Instinctual Vigilance
Instinctual Vigilance is about a knowledge in our guts, in our
viscera, that all tragedy, all sorrow, all pain and all suffering has
a purpose to it, a reason that provides a greater truth, a greater
clarity, more valued meaning at the end of the road we travel than the
pain and suffering of the event itself.
Nothing can be more difficult to a parent than the loss of an innocent
child, especially one consumed in a fire who was only ten days old.
Yet, the Instinctual Vigilance of the mother held fast and strong.
She clung to some lifeline of belief that defied the logic of fire and
medical officials who deemed the child's death accidental.
The Spirits of
Vigilance at Ground Zero have Instinctual Vigilance
apply Instinctual Vigilance to the Spirits of Vigilance who hover
above Ground Zero. There, on September 11, 2001, as
I sat in the rubble of the worst Terrorist attack in American history,
I saw the birth of the Sentinels of Vigilance. From the ashes
rose their spirits, forming a great Ring of Vigilance around Ground
Zero, vowing to keep their eyes and ears glued to the horizon,
committed to warning us all to fight Fear with Courage, to battle
Intimidation with Conviction, and to stave off Complacency with Right
Actions that benefits the Children's Children's Children.
Instinctual Vigilance is a belief that our duty begins with protecting
not only our own children, but all children from harm. It
keeps our focus on the real value of life--those selfless acts that
promote the safety and security of the future.
The deaths of
those at the World Trade Center were selfless acts of sacrifice
I believe the deaths of nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center
were selfless acts of sacrifice that we, the survivors, would look
upon as a reminder to maintain our Instinctual Vigilance and not let
it be suffocated by time and circumstance.
It would have been easy for Ms. Cuevas to have shrugged off the
comment that the six-year-old girl was her daughter. There
never was a question about her daughter's death--at least not from the
officials who deemed her body burnt by the fire so that nothing was
left. But, the mother instinct didn't accept that
possibility. She clipped the girl's hair, perhaps hoping
not to confirm the child was hers as much to eliminate the
possibility. It would be horrible to think that a dead
child was indeed alive, and you didn't know where or with whom.
Obviously, Ms. Cuevas never buried her daughter. Her
memory stayed alive.
Hopefully, we have not buried the memories of those who died on
September 11, 2001. It might be easy to do as the battles
wage on the global Terrorism vs. Vigilance battlefield.
Listening to the political rhetoric where American leadership is being
lambasted for fighting Terrorism, one might want to bury the memory of
Nine Eleven and get on with other domestic issues not related to
we bury the memory of Nine Eleven, however horrible it might be to
face it, do we bury the Instinctual Vigilance that keeps us ready to
respond to the threats of Terrorism? Do we become
"vulnerable" to Fear, Intimidation and Complacency so we are ripe
pickings for the next Beast of Terror attack?
Ms. Cuevas was
prepared for Terrorism and her story is a lesson for all of
Or, do we
keep our Sense of Vigilance peaked, as Ms. Cuevas did, constantly
alert to the fact that out of no where the Beast of Terror can attack
and that we must be ready for him when he does.
was ready for the Terror of facing the fact that her daughter was
alive. What a shock that must be to one who thought
his or her child was dead, and how precarious a road to travel to
find out if the possibility is true or false. All
levels of Fear and Courage, Intimidation and Conviction, Complacency
and Right Actions must have clashed in the process.
But Ms. Cuevas was
a true Sentinel of Vigilance. She had her scissors ready.
She snipped some hair. She pounded on doors. She
fought for the right to "know" the truth, and didn't avoid it.
Her story is
temptation of burying Terrorism. Beware the desire to put
Terrorism behind us as we listen to the grumbles and roars of
political rhetoric, trying to sell short the battles with the Beast.
Remember that Ms. Cuevas was victorious because she had a pair or
scissors in her hand, and a long-standing belief in her guts that the
Beast of Terror could be defeated.
Mar 2--Monsters Of The