March 16, 2009

Flying back from the conference yesterday, I found myself in a small plane crossing two ranges of mountains.  I’ve been on this route before, and knew it was coming, and I know that turbulence is not a life-threatening thing, but, as it always does, it got to me.

Nothing like being thousands of feet above the ground and feeling yourself buffeted by winds and gales as rocky mountains spread out beneath you to drive home the fact of how helpless you really are.  Well, not true.  I felt more helpless than this in June, July, and August, though in mostly different ways.  However, in terms of short-lived experiences that I can for the most part easily recover from, airplane turbulence has a lot of impact.

For twenty minutes, I hoped and prayed (in the “If you’re there and inclined to do something, this would be nice” sort of way in which I pray now) that I would make it safely to the ground, that N wouldn’t be left to struggle on alone.  For twenty minutes, I told myself I was foolish to take risks when N depended on me, that I should keep my feet on the ground where they belong and that the train was a lovely travel option I should take more advantage of.  I thought of how unfair it would be if we didn’t even get to try for another child.

I thought of how death wasn’t quite so scary to me now because when it comes to me, I get to go where Teddy is, wherever may be.

I thought, again, that N needs me more than Teddy does now, and that I really, really wanted to make it to the ground alive.

I finished reading my mystery novel, in spite of the lurching, because it gave me something I could do besides clutching at the armrests, and because if the plane went down I didn’t want to miss the ending.  And I was right in figuring out how the second victim died, if not the first.

And then the turbulence subsided, the plane descended, I ran through the rain to the gate, through the gate to where N was standing, and hugged him in a way that is probably most unseemly for a staid librarian returning from a conference, held him like my life depended on it.  I buried my face in his shoulder, and was home.



  1. I’m so glad you and N can hold each other through (or after) the turbulence. xoxo

  2. Sounds strangely familiar. I sometimes wonder how close I came to a violent end in all my travels.
    Glad you guys are alright.

  3. I’m no longer afraid of death like I once was either. That said, I’m not ready to die yet but the fear has gone.
    Nice to see you back.

  4. ((hugs)) welcome home, welcome home.

  5. Thanks! It’s good to be back, leaky roof and all.

  6. I feel this way every time I travel, since I lost my daughter. It never felt so good to be home, as it does now.

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