When I was 11 my mom took my brother and I to Hawaii. It was amazing. It also was the first time I ever flew on an airplane. I had the pleasure of getting the window seat, and even after being over the ocean for a couple hours I still stared out the window in excitement. By then, everyone else had closed their windows. We were seated directly behind the wing, and I remember there were two engines on the wing. Halfway to Hawaii, smoke started coming out of one of those engines.
I asked my mom, “Mom, is there supposed to be smoke coming out of the engine?”
All the windows near me shot up.
“No, I don’t think so.” my mom answered.
We sat in silence, while those around us murmured. After what felt like a long time the pilot came onto the intercom.
“Well folks, we have a problem with one of our engines. We’re about halfway to Honolulu and I’m sure that we could make it to our destination, however for safety we’re going to turn around and head back to LAX because they are better equipped to deal with us.”
I may have been young, but I was not stupid. Better equipped to deal with us. That told me that he believed we could get there, but after that…
“Mom, are we going to die?”
“I don’t know, Linda. I don’t know.”
I always appreciated her honesty.
It was a very long two and a half hour flight back to LAX. I remember looking around at the faces of the people around us. Some people looked very frightened. Some people held hands. Most were quiet, many were praying. I said a prayer too. And then I waited… to find out if we would live or die, to find out what would happen next. It wasn’t a terrible feeling, I didn’t feel dread. I actually felt a quiet acceptance that what would be would be. I just had to wait and see.
It’s been a while since I’ve experienced that feeling. That kind of waiting, to find out how something so serious will turn out. I’ve been feeling it now for over 2 months.
We landed safely. The passengers cheered. We got on another plane and had our dream vacation in Hawaii. Life went on.
So here I am, waiting to find out what’s next. What will be will be. Thankfully we are living during a time when doctors are better equipped to deal with us. Maybe there will be cheering, maybe not. I just have to wait and see.