20 years ago today

July 17/18 1996

I was home alone .

My kids , aged 7 and 8 at the time must have been staying with one pair of grandparents or the other , as it was summer time , and I clearly remember being alone .

Around 2am the phone rings which startled me as I was falling into the first deep sleep of the night .

It was the voice of my husband , sounding pretty clear and right there next to me :

– “Hello , it’s me , everything is all right , please do not worry , but something happened and I wanted to let you know before you would learn about it on the news ! ” I’m sorry to wake you up Β but there was an accident here in New York with one of your planes ” . “Pay attention , it was not the 900 flight (New York – LIS) it is the 800 (New York-Paris) ” . ” I was afraid you would find out in the news and misunderstand it” . “It is bad , really bad , I’m watching the news now here at the hotel , I really doubt I can catch the 900 tomorrow back to LIS as planned , I will let you know when I can ” . “Are you ok ? baby moving ? kids allright ? take care , kisses , I love you ” .

I don’t think I will ever forget this call , the horrible images on the news , the deep deep sorrow for my fellow colleagues and all our passengers lost on that night , the anguish of their family and friends trying to find out if their loved ones had actually boarded that fated plane and what could have happened .

I could not do a thing but pray .

I couldn’t even help my Lisbon airport colleagues who were under an enormous stress and grief , besides an immense work load with all the cancellations and changes of routes plus a shortage of staff as some of them were immediately deployed to Paris , to help the CDG airport staff or to volunteer in the support group to the families of the victims .

I was at the time and since my fourth month into pregnancy on forced bed rest and on strong anti-contractions medication for my beautiful youngest baby girl , who inherited her father’s stubborn streak and kept on trying to be born well in advance of her expected date towards the end of September .

So , I prayed and I cried and I waited (told you before , I have a master’s degree in waiting) .

My husband came back from New York on our TW900 , I believe two days after , I managed to keep the stubborn girl inside me until the 1st of September , and she was born healthy and perfect .

But my sorrow for those passengers and my colleagues , and their families and friends Β ; and yes also for our beautiful plane so stupidly destroyed and our company that was never again the same , has not diminished in these 20 years .

And I also carry this guilt that I was not there to help .

Even if the reason for not being there was such a special one , and yes I was blessed with a very special daughter .

I realize this is a very selfish post but I needed to put it out there on the 20th year after the Flight 800 came down near Long Island on the 17th July 1996 .

May all rest in peace and may some peace have come to their families and friends .


ps : out it came , tears blurring my already poor sight , no editing , sorry .


53 thoughts on “20 years ago today

  1. Gosh, I’m so glad to read this, and that you shared your inner experience. There’s something about sharing that can be so healing … just in itself. ❀ Sending blessings your way, and thank you also for visiting my blog! Your authenticity is inspirational and courageous.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your lovely words πŸ™‚
      And yes you are right , it seems a tiny bit of all that heaviness in my heart started lifting after writing this and receiving all these wonderfully understanding and dear comments πŸ™‚
      Turtle Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  2. A beautiful heartfelt post and the kind of post that needs to be written. These events touch all of us and the closer you are to it energetically, especially when it feels like one family, the stronger these feelings will be. Moments like these bring everyone closer and we hold you and your family and all those affected in our prayers. Big hugs from all of us xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So very heartfelt, I could feel your tears and anguish as you remembered this. Thanks for sharing your story with us. Sending you warm hugs of friendship from down under. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Miriam !
      You know , I always “feel” that date but this year it hit particularly hard and it made me write this . But I was very hesitant in publishing it , afraid it could be read by someone directly affected by the disaster and bring them further pain 😦
      Turtle Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh my dear sweet Turtle. This is not selfish. This is heartfelt and appropriate and I thank you for the reminder because otherwise it is so easy to consign each tragedy to a place that grows dust and cobwebs and ceases to remind me that we must always care. We must always feel. We must always be decent. We must never forget simple kindness and most of all we must be compassionate and understand that some wounds don’t neatly heal. So not selfish. Not at all and I thank you. From the bottom of my aching heart, I thank you. And I send you hugs. Bean Hugs too. Take care, gentle soul. Take care.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Fiona so very very much ❀
      Loved your thoughts and as always you leave me with no words (that make any sense) to answer you back πŸ˜‰
      Thank you for yours and Bean's hugs (hope he is reacting well to his Lyme treatments)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She thanks you for the hugs – she is very fond of hugs. She is responding to her antibiotics and I am holding onto the hope that no lasting damage has been done. You don’t need to respond – your heart spoke in your piece. That is what counts. I’m so glad to have found you or that you found me or whatever it was. Because I count you amongst my most special. I hope you know that – words not needed πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sorry Bean , I know you are a girl πŸ™‚
        I’m happy to know that you’re taking your antibiotics and soon you will be as healthy as before that pesky ticks decided to hitch a ride on you . Hope your papa is also being diligent with his treatment πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The Bean responds ‘actually I cock my leg like a boy and have a pretty macho temperament so please don’t apologise – like ma mere I prefer not to be pigeon-holed! Mon pere is off his drugs now (have another week to go) and will see his doctor in two weeks for a blood test – we bully him to make sure he doesn’t forget to look after himself’ πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Ah! Thank you πŸ™‚ So from now on I will refer to you as a girl or as a boy depending on the antics you come up with πŸ™‚
        J’imagine que ton pΓ©re mΓͺme s’il a deux cerveaux oublie de prendre ses petits pills πŸ˜‰

        Liked by 1 person

    2. It is a tight rope to walk .
      To keep our sanity we need to “buffer” a bit from all these tragedies and yet we can not let ourselves become immune to them . Like you said we must always care about the others , we must always feel , as much as that can hurt . We must not turn into stones , or be indifferent to what is happening around us .
      Turtle Hugs ❀

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I love that analogy – it is a tightrope indeed. To keep the sympathy and at times empathy without letting it turn us to gibbering wrecks and to never ever allow ourselves to be stone. I love your way with words. Really love it. πŸ™‚ xx

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This is not a selfish post at all! This hit home for you and the memories are still strong, no matter the time when it happened. The loss of family is difficult – no matter if it is biological, or other means – you suffered a loss. Hugs sent your way. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Aww, I feel so sad for you, and for your grief, what you are feeling and what you felt. Your storyhas brought shivers down my body. Sadly,(in my opinion) grief never eases. This is so close to your heart. You are a beautiful, caring person. Hugs to you

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for your kind words πŸ™‚
      Didn’t mean to make people sad (what was i thinking ? ) but somehow I just had to write it , and strangely it feels things are a bit “tidier” now .


  7. So sorry for your painful memories. It was a tragic loss. So glad your little one stayed put until she could become healthy and ready to do what she came to this world to do! Be assured you did what could be done. Going beyond might have just resulted in another tragedy. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Traumatic events in our lives never quite fade away, writing about them is difficult but cathartic, so this post is a good thing . I read that the final report stated it was a spark in the tank…BTW, my father was with PanAm πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Awww, God bless. Such a terrible tragedy, and I’m so sorry it’s still so fresh in your mind. While I know you’ll never forget, I do hope the writing about it has eased your grief a little. Hugs to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Awww, maybe its because of all the senseless deaths on TV right now but I’m crying now too. Don’t worry though, I’ve got a masters degree in cray-cray so I’ll be alright ❀ Hugs to you! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 2 people

  11. I’m sorry for your grief and sorrow in writing this post T! The memories seem so clear and close as you remember. I am trying to understand why your husband called it “your” plane. Did you work for TWA? Maybe you own it! πŸ™‚ Tight hugs T!

    Liked by 1 person

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