When I was nine years old, my grandpa was in a plane crash. While this event has been woven into the fabric of our family’s history for the past 28 years, it wasn’t until recently that my understanding, perspective, and even questions about the event really took shape. I’m thrilled to have a piece up on The Mid today about life and death, love and loss, and questions without answers. Below is an excerpt, but you can read the full post here.
I asked a few questions at the time, but when they went unanswered. I quickly learned not to ask anymore. Some things were too hard for my mom to discuss; this was her dad we were talking about, after all. Other things she just didn’t want us to know, things that weren’t meant for children’s ears. So the information was spotty and filtered, peppered with holes. It excluded all the words a mother in the middle of life—still daughter, now mother—leaves out because she is trying to protect her children and because she still needs a little protecting herself.
As a woman in the middle right now, this is something that I not only understand, but respect. There are some things that children just shouldn’t know about, not yet. And there are some things that are so traumatic, so devastating, so confusing that we, as adults, still can’t make sense of them. How does a mother answer her daughter’s questions about death and God and why bad things happen to good people when she doesn’t know the answers to those questions herself?
Over the years, my questions grew and changed. Did the passengers talk to each other, maybe about work or their children or the weather? Did they know where the exits were? Had they remembered the pre-flight safety lesson? Or had they been flipping through their People magazines, sipping their cocktails and inhaling the smoke that wouldn’t kill them just minutes before the smoke that would? What did it feel like to be in a plane as it flipped and burst into flames? What did it feel like to be on fire? Did life really flash before one’s eyes? Did they pray to be saved in those final minutes? And if so, whose God did they pray to and why didn’t God answer those prayers?
Continue reading here.