I can't tell you how many times I've told the story. People always say "I bet your sick of telling this story...but tell me the story." Truth is, I never minded at all - I think because I didn't think there was much of a story there. The event is such a blur, really. I felt worse for my friends and family at home who were watching it, not being able to really KNOW that I was okay. When I got home, after the exhaustion and recovering from a bad, bad cold I filed the whole experience away like I typically do. I put it in a case where I could look at it, but not really touch it or feel it - like it's very own shadowbox. I have a habit of doing that with things that I don't really know how to process. But recently, I have taken the shadow box down off the shelf, opened it up and starting sorting through the contents.
A month or so ago I was at the office, busy with whatever it is that keeps me busy there and I got a call from the NTSB on my cell phone. The girl that was sitting next to me for roughly 4 minutes of what was supposed to be our flight from NYC to Charlotte was looking for me. They asked my permission to give her my contact info. Of course I agreed. I had not talked to one single person from that flight - no crew, no passengers. NO one. I got an email from her about an hour later, asking if she could call me. I had no clue what she would want to talk about...but I told her "of course." We talked for an hour and a half.
She filled me in on all the passengers, all of their reunions, their stories...they had a Yahoo Group online where everyone virtually "gets together" pretty frequently. And then we talked about that day - how she got out of the plane, how I got out of the plane, where we both ended up, etc., etc...etc. And it felt GREAT. We laughed about the minutes before we hit the water, her asking me "Land or water? Land or water? LAND OR WATER?" We shared our stories about calling our husbands. We discussed how our families dealt/are dealing with it. I felt like I had known her forever.
Once I made contact with her and with the group online I learned that a book is being published. "Miracle on the Hudson" will be released in November of this year. The "group" has formed an LLC for such situations...and I joined. I did my interview with one of the writers two weeks ago. And again, told my version of what happened that day. Only - the extended version. Only - it was different. She was pressing me, digging a bit and I was forced to really get my hands messy in the whole experience.
What I learned was, I am REALLY okay with all of it. I mean it when I say that I feel humbled. I had to delve into all of "what have you changed about your life/do you think or feel or believe differently than you did before" questions. And even after reliving every detail, down to how I got out the door of the plane and who gave me socks at the ferry terminal - that is what I am. Humbled. (I'm glad - since it's tattooed on my body now.) Life really has gotten so much easier since I realized that I am not the supreme ruler of the universe. I do NOT have control of every situation. And consequently, the universe is not out to get me. That was not a bad thing that happened to me on January 15, 2009. It was a BEAUTIFUL gift of opportunity. I have learned to let go of a lot of worry and fret and anxiety about why things happen - or don't happen - the way they are supposed to. And I have realized they DO work out like they are supposed to, I just may not have planned them them that way.
In all of the research online about the writers of this book I have found a lot of info and pictures of Flight 1549. And still, after all the processing, the one thing that makes me get weepy and sad...are pictures like this one. The plane in the water. I hate seeing her there, knowing she held up - and held us up - then had such a slow and cold and painful demise. Even as I type it I realize how weird it sounds...then again, I'm the same girl that hugs my shoes.
RIP, big ol' jet airliner. And thank you.