Monday, October 12, 2015

Keep Calm and Fly On (Part 1)

The decimated crank case of the Cessna 414 aircraft that blew out on us in mid air
September 27th, 2015 (2 Sundays ago)

Our family was flying home from my Grandma's funeral 

when I heard my Dad the pilot

dryly request that his co-pilot (my brother)

"find the nearest airport."

I saw the flames spitting out of the engine

right beside my window.

All I could think was


This cannot be happening again.


The decimated crank case of the Piper Malibu that also blew out on us in mid air
August 4, 2003

Twelve years ago I was sitting in this very spot -

rear-facing, on the right -

when I heard my Dad utter the unthinkable:

"We're not going to make it."

Every moment and gesture of those next 10 minutes

exists in timeless auto-replay in my mind

and body.

It's a story I have told a hundred times.

It's a story that is literally branded on my forehead --

in the scars that I chose to keep that day.

I chose,

when my Dad came to my hospital bed and choked out,

"Just look what I've done to your beautiful face...

do you want me to get coverage for plastic surgery?"

"No" was my vehement answer.

I never wanted to forget.

I don't take Miracles lightly.

I remember living in an altered state of rapture

for months and months afterward.

My feet scarcely touched the ground.

All was Gratitude.

I remember wishing the scars would remain 

deep and bold forever

so that every person would wonder and ask,

so that I could tell again and again

the glorious living nightmare of falling towards death

for ten long minutes.

The soul-crackling prayer, "God, please save my family." 

The final regrets, the bracing.

The full body impact and thunderous sound of dense cedars 

snapping our aircraft.

How we all, somehow, scrambled out 

from the upside down plane,

dashed and bloody, 

dazed and alive

And how being alive smells --

of strangely hot and sweet maple syrup all mingled up 

with blood and av gas

How it tastes -- of the fragrant maple nectar oozing

down my face, embalming my eyes and lips in

a surreal, life-giving kiss

And how it sounds -- the bumblebees...

Being alive sounds like bumblebees

calmly at work in the wildflowers and the grass --

Yes, the tickle of grass is the caress of

what being alive feels like

This amazing, warm, solid grass on the ground 

that holds my whole body

like it loves me so much 

it just couldn't let me go. 


That is part of my story.

The full story of the crash is best told by the pilot himself, so stay tuned for that and more pictures at the end.

But first...

The story that I'm really here to share.

The new story...

The one that cracked open 

during our most recent emergency landing 

just 2 weeks ago.

As you can well imagine...

To be back

in the air

on a burning wing, 

and a used up prayer

was simply


to me.

I had a husband and three children to get home to this time.

My hands and heart were trembling as I sent texts,

-I love you.

-Looks like we are doing an emergency landing.

-Trouble with one engine potentially.

-Dad wants to check it out.

-Engine on fire.  Pray!!!!!!!!!


Here is where 

the moral of this story becomes even more marvellous,

even more miraculous,

than surviving.

It's that moment 

in the re-living

when there is an unexpected 


The moment of revelation that comes

when you revisit your old places 

like a curious tourist

and see something

from a new angle.

Wow Ben, you really do look like a tourist!  That is my brother Ben the day after the crash

What I have extracted

from the wreckage,

and transacted

over time


a certain 


so powerful

that you are going to have to wait 

until tomorrow to hear all about it.

Alright, I will tell you a tiny bit

before I go off to bed.

(It is almost 3:00 a.m. you know!)


You know that little Black Box

that contains the mysteries of flight?


And there is so much inside it that I have had to split it into

a 3 part blog.

This is what I found in the Black Box 

two weeks ago today:

The power to keep calm and fly on.  

 The faith to be prudently fearless.

The courage to get back in the sky.

and the resilience of spirit 

to lead an unshakeable life.

Where did I find all this treasure?

Smack dab in the cockpit

where it's been all along. 

In my Dad.


  1. need to put this and whatever comes after, in a book that this, your gift, can be shared, appreciated, be wondered over, by the rest of the world, not just the tiny portion of the fb world!!!

    1. Thanks so much Lynette! I will eventually get it out there! Thanks for reading, and so glad you enjoy

  2. Amazing post! Praise God thank you for the testimony Ginette, can't wait to read
    More! Love Dan

  3. Something about your life and your sharing just makes me want to weep with joy and gratitude for days.