So, I had an interesting week… I have wondered from time to time throughout my life how I would react when my time came to leave this physical plane and pass over. My perfect scenario would go something like this:
I’m 110 years old, still sassy and totally with it. I’m wearing dark burgundy lipstick (my signature look) and all of my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are sitting around me. We talk, reminisce and laugh. We eat really delicious food, I eat ALOT of bread smeared with butter and I drink some fabulous red wine. Once it gets late, they all leave and go home, each of them telling me how awesome I am and how much they love me. I fall off into a beautiful, peaceful slumber and pass over.
That’s my number one choice on how to go and I am totally planning on my life unfolding that way, but … what if that’s not in my cards? How would I deal with a different scenario?
Would I freak out? Would I cry and scream? I believe you never really know how you’re gonna react until your faced with the potential of dying square in the eye. It springs to mind a bad ass quote by Eleanor Roosevelt:
Holy Shit how true is that? I just LOVE that quote. It is so very, very true. How do I know? Well, I’ll tell you but you have to read on…
I was returning home from a business retreat in California two nights ago. I booked the red eye back home to New York. My plane was delayed an hour, they estimated it to leave Cali at 10 pm instead of 9 pm (my first annoyance of the evening – but hey! … it was no biggie in the scheme of things).
Once I boarded the plane I sat down in my seat – 16F, a window seat, then a few seconds later a 30 something hipster dude sat down in the isle seat leaving an empty seat between us. A flight attendant asked over the loud speaker if everyone could please find their seat and then SIT in it since we were already behind schedule and we needed to try and make up some time. Then she informed us that it was a “full fight”. The hipster and I exchanged glances and frowned. Yuk …a full flight… what were the chances that the middle seat would remain vacant? There is nothing more uncomfortable than a really long flight jammed in a small seat, sitting elbow to elbow.
The passengers continued to load onto the plane and took their assigned seats. With each person that walked by us (instead of sitting their ass down between us) we exchanged a celebratory “whoo hoo”. As time passed fewer and fewer passengers walked by. Things were looking good!
Finally, the last passenger was on board and getting themself settled into their seat. We lucked out, no person between us, we could stretch out a little and enjoy a more comfy flight!
It was approximately 10pm and we were ready for take off. I quickly swallowed a sleeping aide (yes, its true … I do rely on sleeping aides on long flights) and took my earplugs out of my carry on bag. I was looking forward to 6 hours of sleep. After initial take-off the crew dimmed the lights in the cabin and set the mood for shut eye. Eventually, I fell off into a slumber.
I’m not sure how long I was sleeping, I think 2 hours or so when the plane banked deeply to the left and started a rapid decent. I sprung up and looked at the hipster. He had flung his sleep mask off his head and said to me “this is NOT good, they are banking to the left and we are supposed to be flying straight and east!” Then the lights in the cabin flicked on. We both started squinting due to the intense change in light. The next thing I remember is hearing a voice over the loud speaker. The Captain asked us to remain calm and that we needed to make an emergency landing in Salt Lake City, Utah.
All the while the plane was banking left and descending … rapidly. People started to panic. The flight attendants were attempting to calm the hysterical passengers.
In that moment, I went numb.
Was my life over? Are we crashing?
The Captain came back on and informed us that emergency workers would be boarding when we landed in Utah.
Holy Crap, is there a terrorist on board?
What the f*ck is happening?
I had absolutely no clue … none of us passengers did. All that I knew for sure was I could be dying and my life could be ending.
I never panicked, really! Not even for a second while the trauma was occurring. I hunkered down emotionally. I didn’t think about anyone … not my three children, or my husband, or anyone else for that matter.
I was completely at peace.
My life did not flash before me and there was absolutely no regret bubbling up.
Believe it or not, I didn’t feel one bit scared while it was happening (that set in later).
Instead, I felt gratitude for a life well lived. Sure, I really wanted more time, but in the nano second it takes to think things through and size up a situation – I was feeling at peace.
The plane continued to descend at a rapid pace when the Captain announced that the crew should get seated and buckle in.
“Oh, please don’t let us suffer and die in flames” was all I could think about.
I looked at the hipster and he looked back at me, we smiled at each other. I thought to myself, he had a nice smile, really big and toothy. Then my warm and fuzzy thoughts immediately turned into a rant “Imagine this bullshit, not being able to look at the people I love the most in the world at the end of my life… what a effing shame”.
I’m pretty certain the hipster felt the same way as I. In that moment we had no choice but to find comfort in each others presence, and I think we did.
We both sat there very calm and quiet…
The landing was super rough, we bounced up and down as we hit the runway. The Captain squeezed on the brakes, they made a horrible sound as they forced the plane to make an abrupt stop.
In a matter of minutes there were police officers on board, they escorted this skanky, tattoo ridden, dirty looking, biker dude – wanna be off the plane as he exclaimed “I’m sorry” over and over.
It turned out he was a drug addict or something and not a terrorist. He left the plane relatively peacefully with his haggard woman and scrappy Pomeranian in tow.
I turned on my phone and called my hubby, then I began to cry…
My man stayed on the phone with me until we were told by the Captain to power down our phones and prepare for take-off.
The next flight from Utah to New York was completely uneventful… Thank Goddess!
To sum up – What I have always known about myself is that when shit is going down, I am fully present and C-A-L-M.
I consider myself to be a Warrior Woman and this experience firmly cements the claim.
All I can say is “bring it on” because this Goddess has got some grit!
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