Last night over Prague we hit a patch of turbulence, it was that rough that the cabin crew didn't even have time to put the trollies away before the Captain told them to take their seats.
There were quite a few audible gasps from my fellow passengers, but I just sat there, looking out the window at the wing, tipping and bumping in the sky.
I used to be frightened of flying, I used to be frightened of heights, but that is an irrational fear and my true fear I faced all those years was my fear of actual death, but over the past year and a half I've come to realise that I'm not frightened of death either, I'm actually frightened of survival.
Summer 2017 my father died suddenly at home, I was with him within minutes of his collapse and I could tell he was dying. An ambulance had already been called, but I rang them back and went through the protocols with the operator, I was remarkably calm and in control of myself. I wasn't asked to start CPR or do mouth to mouth. I just followed instructions and sat there with my father watching him die until the emergency response teams arrived and took over.
Over the past few months, I've re lived that scene many times in my head, I've separated the sudden death of my father from the scene and I live with the feeling of helplessness watching a person die, not in pain, not aware, not communicating their wants and needs, no blinking of the eye, no rising of the chest, just life escaping them, slowly and there being absolutely nothing I could do to change the outcome.
I'm grateful my father died the way he did, quickly, painlessly and with his family around him, but as much as I didn't want him to die, I also didn't want him surviving and not having a quality of life, whilst waiting slowly for nature to take its course with every goodbye I made getting harder and harder for both of us.
My father died that night, I survived, but the events live with me, they haunt me. I have no regrets, July 11th 2017 was my father's time, he'd lived a full life. I know there was nothing I could've done, nothing different I could've tried that would have changed the outcome, but I live with a feeling of feeling totally helpless. His life was out of my control, like the turbulence last night was out of my control also. I've flown numerous times, I can accept the turbulence is out of my control. I wouldn't survive an air crash from 37,000ft so there was nothing to fear.
I've only watched one person die, I need a bit more time to accept that.
Getting on a plane and visiting the countries my father did gives me a lot of peace, you can read my guest post here. Finding peace in travel.