“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”
Today I woke up feeling incredibly blessed. I opened my eyes, opened the curtains of my balcony cabin aboard the ‘Ovation of the Seas’ and caught my first glimpse of Milford Sound – one of the spectacular fjords within the south west region of New Zealand’s South Island.
This was a sight which truly did take my breath away, views which under any circumstances were a sight to behold. However, as I took my first conscious breaths of the day and took the crisp mountain air into my lungs, I inhaled with pure gratitude at seeing this new dawn because just before going to bed last last night I heard the tragic news of the Ethiopian Airlines flight number ET302 crashing just 6 minutes after taking of from Addis Ababa in Ethiopia on route to Nairobi in Kenya. News updates followed just a short time later with the breaking headlines confirming that there were no survivors.
149 passengers along with 8 crew members from 35 different nations had sadly lost their lives. 157 people who never dreamed just 24 hrs ago that they would never see this morning, and 157 families who woke up this morning knowing that life for them would never ever be the same again.
The media of course always report these incidents with facts, figures and numbers of ‘victims’ – they were not just victims though, they were people, people like you and I going about their every days lives; going on holiday, going home to their loved ones, people making business trips, aid workers & U.N. workers giving of themselves to make other people’s lives a little better, possibly even babies and children only just starting out on their life paths.
For the crew of course they were simply going about their everyday work and for both flight & cabin crew the passengers safety would have been their number one priority. My own daughter has recently completed her 2nd season as cabin crew and such an accident is every parent & family members nightmare when their loved ones take to the skies each day.
Just a few months ago I was invited and subsequently accepted to become a special assistance team member for the emergency disaster response company ‘Kenyon International Emergency Services’.
In future months and years these are the types of incidents and disasters that I too may be asked to deploy to. I pray that when this time comes I can truly make a difference to those families whose lives are suddenly changed forever. I hope that I can play just a small part in helping them to find some light in their darkest hours and to guide them to a path as they transition and ‘try’ to find a new normal, whatever that may be.
Having worked as a funeral celebrant for the last 15 years, there is a kind of internal radar which goes off inside of you when disasters and mass fatalities such as these suddenly hit the media; the reality of loss as photos appear and the names of those who died are confirmed. Heartbreaking images of devastated families members crippled with shock and grief. I just want to reach out and help in some way, to be someone who can make a difference.
I know for these 157 families that there will be other professionals like myself who will be there for them now and who will be the ones to make that difference.
From a distance I can only hold each of them in my heart and send out my very deepest condolences to their families, friends and loved ones.
I am writing this blog as we continue to sail on through the majestic New Zealand Fjords, and I feel more gratitude than ever to have this day with so many incredible moments which have quite literally taken my breath away. Today, as well as being witness to some of the most dramatic and spectacular scenery I have ever seen in my life we have watched a colony of seals swim by us and a large pod of dolphins playing and leaping in their natural habitats.
Tomorrow is not promised to anyone. For that reason I shall continue living my best life so that when my last breath is nigh I shall be able to look back and to say ” Je me regrette rien” ( I regret nothing).