Monday, March 17, 2014

On Wings of Worry

I find myself thinking almost constantly about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. How is it that, in this age when every email can be read, we cannot find a plane with some 250 people aboard?
How is it that there are parts of the world with almost no people, not to mention no radar?
I think of the Chinese artists who were aboard, particularly those six who in the last hours got their flight switched so they could travel to Shanghai rather than Beijing. Why did they get to survive? Do they have survivor's guilt?
And what has happened to their colleagues? 
What of the woman, interviewed by the Wall St. Journal, who called her partner to-be in Malaysia and reminded him that his flight was that night and he should rush to catch it. He was flying to Beijing to help her move to Kuala Lumpur to be with him. Her grief and worry and self-questioning is unimaginable. And the belated honeymooners, just getting over the wife's miscarriage and so looking forward to a break?
Was there a struggle aboard, akin to the 2001 United Airlines flight that crashed in Shanksville, Pennsylvania?
Or was everyone sleeping as the plane kept flying, flying. Did someone notice that the sunrise wasn't in the right direction? Or that the plane was taking longer than it should have?
Such questions have tormented those who speculate on the fate of  Amelia Earhart. But she was a solo flyer, responsible for just herself
If a pilot, in this case, was responsible, how could he take so many others with him? What was he thinking?
Most of us have the luxury of time to plan for our departures from this planet and our loved ones -- the time to write wills, label our possessions for this child or grandchild, write the "provenance" so they can be smart when they go on Antiques Roadshow, write our stories, say goodbye,
My mother even Xeroxed all her jewelry, circling each item and noting who should get what. There were no fights. And we appreciated her prescience.
But do most of us do so? Or are we perpetually convinced that the time is not now.
I pray that some crazed email will emerge, announcing a ransom for survivors on a remote island.  
So that I don't have to worry about those close to me. Or about myself.

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