While visiting a college nearby this last week, for my oldest son, we took an unexpected detour.
We went to visit a memorial for those who lost their lives in a plane crash in 1995. We know one of the survivors… actually, one of the two responsible for saving most of the lives on that doomed flight.
It was a mixed bag of emotions. The memorial was at a beautiful spot behind a darling white church. It was surrounded by big trees, with a view of a flower garden, apple trees and a covered bridge. A perfect spot for such a memorial.
The boys and I sat on the bench by the memorial. We talked about the accident and the lives that it affected. We told stories of “Uncle M” and “Aunt A”. Of their love for life and all the lives they have touched in their recovery.
It was a special time for me.
It was just a small piece of the enormous puzzle that I shall never have all the pieces to. But it was a very significant piece.
We left the memorial and headed half a mile west to visit the field where it actually happened.
The man that owned the field let us go behind his house and take a look at the site. Nothing is left of to indicate what happened on that terrible day. But there was a feeling in the ground that I shall never be able to explain with words. It just was.
The man came out to talk with us and told his side of the story. Of how he was sitting on his back porch reading a book… and then it seemed as if the world was ending… in his own backyard. I can not imagine.
He told of how he called 911 after he realized what it was that blazed through his field. He told of how he had to “get loud” with the dispatcher who didn’t believe what he was telling them. He told of how one of the passengers talked to him about his injuries. He told of the incredible actions of those who came to rescue. And of the awe he had for the copilot, who refused to die.
It was somber. It was releasing. It was emotional. It was a long time coming.
On the trip home, the boys and I talked a lot. They had questions. I tried to answer.
We spoke of how “Uncle M” has added such joy in our lives. How we are so glad that he loved “Aunt A” enough to NOT GIVE UP on life. How he has impacted the lives of all of those that know him… that know what he has been through. How he could only have survived his injuries with a positive attitude. What a difference the choice to be positive makes.
It was a wonderful 40 minute drive home with my boys.
It was because of someone else’s choice about how they live their life, that gave me an opportunity to share with my children, God’s eternal love for us, and how our choices effect everyone who knows us.
Thank you “Uncle M” for living. And thank you “Aunt A” for being the kind of woman that makes a man choose life, when it would have been easier to choose death.
We love you both.
More than you will ever know.