This September 24th my family, along with our extended family and some friends went to the site where my Dads plane crashed one year ago. It was an overwhelming day. As we got ready in the morning to head out to Sundre I felt as though I was getting ready for the funeral all over again. My heart was heavy, my fearful anticipation of the day was large, my body screamed once again “go to bed, pretend this isn’t happening”.
The day was difficult, but the days leading up to the one year anniversary were worse. It was as though my mind was allowing me to go back to that dreadful day, small snippets at a time. I would catch myself day dreaming about the night I found out, the images I saw, the words I heard, the details that were told to me. For the first time, I thought about the nightmare I had the first time I fell asleep after hearing the news. My pain was overwhelming.
I dreaded going back to the crash site. The only times I had gone out there I was in complete shock and my mind was so numb I could handle just about anything. This time would be different though, I knew it and I feared it. A year later the haze that clouded my mind and heart had somewhat lifted and I was going to the crash site for the first time in a cognizant state. When I pulled up to the site my heart was racing. What would I find, what would I feel, could I handle this? As our vehicle parked I could see people smiling, jokes were being told and suddenly I could see more clearly than I ever had before, people were healing. Blessed.
I got out and looked around. Little of what I expected remained. The grass that was once reduced to ashes was now bright and abundant. The scorched trees had shredded much of their black burnt scars. The thistles had thrived from the blazed conditions. The cows had moved back into their home and disregard the tragedy that once took place in that very spot. It looked so different. It looked so full of life that you could barely see the reminder of death. Suddenly I wasn’t just standing in the place where my father was killed, I wasn’t just picturing what the moment looked like for him, miraculously I was also seeing the place where my Dad met the Lord. Surprisingly there was a peace that came with that thought.
One year has passed since I lost the most important man of my life. One year doesn’t make things better, and it doesn’t make my pain less – in actuality my pain has deepened in many ways as reality has slowly allowed itself to settle in my bones. However, one year later I have much more hope than I had one year ago, and hope is an incredible gift to receive.
I have survived the one year mark. I have grown in beautiful ways, I have became stronger as well. I have touched the face of death in such an intimate way, and I walked away a survivor. I found beauty in pain. I allowed healing to begin taking place. I smiled….many, many times each and every day. I survived, and who knew I could? I sure didn’t think so. But miracles still happen every day; my family is a testament to that.