It is a somber flight, Alaska Flight 30 – Portland to Boston, 9/11/11. It all started on Friday when my little sister Bert emailed me and said, “You’re flying to the east coast on 9/11, be careful”. The email felt like a bullet, and memories of 9/11 were now everywhere. What was nestled in my subconscious was now vivid on the newsstands, radio, TV, internet etc. I had felt this bullet before, in 1996 when the knock on my door came telling me my husband had been killed, I knew this bullet.
But, now time had passed and I had let the hedge grow up around me, filtering out the pain and letting new life in, new husband, grandchildren, new stepchildren, etc. But this email reminded me that we must never grow dull and that each person’s painful journey is different.
Over the past 48 hrs there is somberness, a sadness that is hard to describe. From lying safely in bed with my new husband, the somberness of flying on 9/11/11 was on my mind.
Arriving at the airport at 5:35 am to hear the announcement requesting 30 seconds of silence in memory of 9/11 was sobering. 30 seconds was not nearly enough time for anything. Walking through security, waving good-bye and being thankful as the young man checked my ID…was sobering.
Ironically as I headed to my gate I kept thinking that today of all days I want to stay connected with my loved ones. Ironically, I left my cell phone on the nightstand at home, now my only communication is via internet at 35,000 ft.
As I boarded my flight I was kindly taken aside by TSA and asked to check my briefcase one more time. Again, a sober reminder but I was thankful they were there.
There is not a seat left on my flight, it is very quiet, very somber, I wonder if others are feeling like I am?
Mid-air somewhere between Portland and Boston I think of families, friends, colleagues and I know that we must treat each person as though it is our last meeting.
So from 35,000 ft. I am remembering and saying thank you to all the heroes past, all the heroes present, and all the heroes yet to be born. I am also posting this picture of all the people I so love in my life; my husband, children, grandchildren and remembering all my family.
May today be one step closer in a deeper understanding of what the words gratitude, courage, faith, hope, and love truly mean.
Respectfully from 35, 000 ft.