Being Present: Marina Krim

“You two never made it to the top but I’m up here now for the first time, in peace, on top of the world, remembering another lifetime and thinking of you. NYC, Lulu and Leo loved you and I love you too! #EmpireStateBuilding”
Lulu and Leo, forever inspiring the world.

I want to tell the longer story of how I ended up at the top of the Empire State Building when the verdict was announced — the verdict that decided whether the monster who murdered my 6 year old daughter Lulu and 2 year old son Leo was guilty or “insane.”

My visit to the Empire State Building was spontaneous, a moment when my creative intuition kicked in when I least expected it to but needed it most. When Kevin called to tell me that a verdict was about to be announced, I happened to be alone. I was on the bus. I could feel myself instantly begin to panic — my heart dropped, then started racing, my breathing began to quicken, my body went limp. I got off the bus as soon as I could. I never planned on being in the courtroom to hear the verdict but I had no plans for this moment.

I walked east on 23rd Street in a daze having no idea where I was going. It’s always surreal and alienating when you feel something that is so heavy and terrifying and everyone around you is going about their normal everyday business.

In my head, I was trying to figure out where the heck I was going to go. That’s when this major Choose Creativity “aha” moment happened. Standing perfectly tall and regal, peeking its head above all the other buildings, was Leo’s favorite Empire State Building. I can still remember Leo’s low little boy voice calling all the small buildings in the Upper West Side “Empire.” It was the Empire State Building that gave me a surprise shout out two months after the kids died while we were living in Times Square, helping me realize that sightings like this are ways to connect to Lulu and Leo. And here was the Empire now practically giving me a hug. I knew that I needed to spend this moment, nervously awaiting an outcome I had no control over, on top of the world.

Leo’s “Empire” taken from Times Square on Jan. 26, 2013. All tall buildings to Leo were the Empire State Building. We’ve kept up Lulu and Leo’s tradition of spotting it whenever we are out and about.

It took me 30 minutes to walk there, the enormity of the building always makes it look closer than it actually is. Even though I’d consider it as one of the most intense moments of my life, I felt determined, hopeful and even a little giddy, as if Lulu and Leo were walking by my side. On my walk along 23rd Street, I picked up a small box of macaroons, Lulu’s favorite French treat, for Nessie, Felix and Linus. I always make sure to be sensitive to my living kids’ journey through this as well.

While waiting teary-eyed in line among a sea of tourists, I received a text from Kevin with the GUILTY verdict. I felt relief, disgust and sadness but mostly I felt really present in this moment and connected to this adventure I was going to have for Lulu and Leo.

The obligatory tourist photo taken before I headed up to the top on 4/18/2018.

When I finally emerged at the 86th floor, the view took my breath away. Here I was on top of the world, a world so beautiful and ugly. I saw the hospital where Leo was born, their UWS backyard Central Park, the Statue of Liverty (Nessie’s name for it). I could see our old neighborhood and our new one. There were echoes of sirens and helicopters, sounds I still associate with the evening the kids died. It was bittersweet.

A view from the top of the world.

For me, this experience is how and why I Choose Creativity. Being Present, the principle that I rely on most during the toughest of times, helps me discover these moments. I know myself well enough that I‘m Patient with the way my creativity reveals itself. I’m Intuitive and open to every moments possibility. I’m Authentic and approach life in my way. I use the 10 Principles of Creativity to react to and handle the good and bad that happens in my life. I can look back on this incredibly stressful moment as a happy, inspiring one, one of those experiences that gives me a little extra wisdom and appreciation for this complicated life.