I used to fly all the time. My dad was a salesman and flew around the country all week and was only home on the weekends. He had more Delta Skymiles and Marriott Hotel points than he could spend in one lifetime. We went on vacation at least twice a year and sometimes more all for free. It was insane. In college I flew back and forth from Illinois to California 2-3 times a year. I never thought anything of it.
Then in 2000 I was flying with my mom from LA to Burlington Vt to my cousins wedding. We changed planes in Detroit and somewhere mid-flight the airplane equivalent of the check engine light came on. The captain announced this and decided that instead of continuing on to Burlington (which was only an hour away) we were going to turn around and go back to Detroit where they had a better service department for airplanes. I was in quiet hysterics. I had my 6 month old baby with me and I was sure I was never going to see his first birthday and I was going to have to watch him die in a fiery plane crash. It was the longest 2 hours of my life ever to get back to Detroit.
I have never flown with my children since. I never flew again until just last summer. I successfully made it to Boston for the AIA convention, Chicago to my friend Chris's wedding, and Minneapolis to rug school. I was having panic attacks sure, but I did it with a little left over dental vicodin and it was easy flying.
Just last week we started trying to plan a vacation for next summer and I found this great little rental house right on the ocean in Kona, Hawaii. I have been pumped just thinking about it. I know it will be hard to fly with the kids, but I thought I would be able to get over it in order to get back to Hawaii, a place I love and haven't been back to since our honeymoon in 1999. I checked out all these cool volcano books for the kids from the library, started looking at flights, looking for activities, and scheduling time off from the shipping business. It was all cool until.........
Last night I took some Midol to try and stave off some knarly cramps. I don't usually take Midol all the time, since I am a caffeine free kind of person, but I really needed it last night and took a full dose around 5:00 pm. At 11:30 I was still awake and definitely juiced on the caffeine. I decided to turn off the HGTV and try and go to sleep and managed to work myself into one huge caffeine induced panic attack thinking about all the horrible outcomes of a plane crash with all my children somewhere over the Pacific Ocean. It was horrible.
Now this is going to seem really strange. I have always had this feeling that I was Amelia Earhart. Something has made me follow her story all my life. I've researched all the places that she could have crashed, know her whole biography, etc. I used to love to fly and even took a few flying lessons when I was younger. I can't really describe it, and I'm not usually really into past lives kind of people, but I have this connection with her that is very strange and I truly believe that in a past life I was Amelia Earhart and suffered the traumatic shock of a horriffic plane crash. None of this really came to me until I had that bad experience on that plane back in 2000. And I tried to use the Amelia Earhart thing as a secret explanation of why I didn't want to fly again. But when I successfully flew last year I seemed to be over it and I didn't think of the Amelia Earhart connection for a while.
Last night while I was in the throws of my panic attack I tried the usual things to try and bring myself back to a rational mode of thought. I tried to think of the warm sand beaches in Hawaii. I tried to think of a nice hike in Sedona. I tried to think of anything that would make me feel better and less anxious about this vacation we were planning on taking. The thing that made me feel a million times better was.... "What if we just went to Florida?" I instantly calmed down. It was then that I came to the conclusion that I wasn't afraid of flying. I am afraid of flying over large expanses of the ocean. Intercontinental flights don't bother me.
This got me all hot and freaked out about he Amelia Earhart thing again. I am not in the least scared of flying to Florida or Boston, or Vegas or anywhere where if we crash death will be instantaneaous. What I am afraid of is crashing in the ocean and drowning or being stranded in the middle of nowhere with my kids and waiting with them and trying to comfort them while we wait for a boat to rescue us.
I know it's crazy, but this is a real fear of mine. Irrational yes, but the only explanation is that I have some kind of rembrance of this happening to me before and I am trying with all my might to try and avoid that in this life. I don't know if this makes any sense to you, but it seems perfectly clear to me and gives me a good explanation for my unexplainable fear. I was Amelia Earhart. (Let's not even get into the reasons that I named my own daughter Amelia.)
So needless to say we are not going to Hawaii next summer. It will be Florida or Mexico or maybe even Boston. There is no way I can get on a plane to cross an ocean at this point in my life. I might be able to do it later in life when my kids are older. I might be able to do it with just Carl and I in a few years, but I can't take my kids on a trans oceanic flight. It just doesn't seem safe to me.
Am I crazy or just rationalizing?