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According to Plan
It wasn't long after the plane took off when I knew I was going to die. I was a bit proud of myself, to be honest. I wasn't the person in hysterics over what they did not get the chance to do. The realization did not strike me like jumping into arctic waters. No, I knew death was coming - not quite in this way - and over the past through months, I have adjusted to it. I got to take a ladder down into that water. Slowly adjusting to the temperature. I've been ready. Cautiously treading the water, accepting of the fact that it would not be long before I went under.
Unlike most people on the plane, I was diagnosed with gastrointestinal cancer. Diagnosed at a later stage, when it was already too late. It was not like I had a large bump in me that would make me think I needed to quickly see a doctor. No, I got the silent killer, only going to the doctor when I vomited after most of my meals. I still cannot eat right, and I there is no cure. No treatment for me.
Who would have thought I'd die from a different cause?
I was traveling alone on that plane, placed next to a young man and his just-starting-to-show pregnant wife. How can I be all woe-is-me when I am sitting next to a mother who will never see her child? A child whose life was stripped away before he had a chance to live it?
I don't think you will believe me, but I knew death was looming before most others did. The plane took off just fine. Everything going as planned.
Only one issue: nothing ever goes exactly according to plan. Nothing.
I heard it. The low rumbling noise. I don't know if it was because my ear was pressed against the wall, or if because death has always been so close, I could easily sniff him out. Either way, I heard it. I knew. Everyone on the plane was going to die. I was sad, but only for all of them. Me, I've been ready to die. When you are told that you have cancer - bad - and won't live to see your next birthday, you prepare yourself. But, these people. They have plans. Go to college, get a new job, have kids, follow your dream, ask out that quiet girl who sits next to you in history. I had plans too. I had to change them. Like I said before, nothing ever goes according to plan. That's not always bad, though. Cancer was supposed to slowly kill me. This plane? Nice and quick.
I called my mom. She is the world to me. Single parent who puts up with her crazy sixteen year old cancer-stricken daughter and her sky-high medical bills. It took me to the answering machine. Beep.
"Mom, I just want to say thank you. You gave me a reason to hold on as long as I did. You are the most beautiful woman in the world, inside and out. You are my hero. I love you, Mom. I love you, but it is time."
I felt the hairs on the back of my neck rise as I pressed end. We have been flying smoothly for five minutes. False sense of security. Unless you are me.
The rumbling grew louder, and the air seemed to become thicker.
"Come get me." I whispered so low I was basically just mouthing the words, "but help the families of all of us. I hope I was good enough for mom. But either way, I am ready. Come get me."
A loud noise came from the belly of the plane. You did not need to be a rocket scientist to know that noise wasn't good.
"What was that?" The man who would have been a father asked. He grabbed his wife's hand in worry. I blinked rapidly to stop my eyes from watering. He does not deserve to die.
The P.A system came on.
"This is your pilot. We are currently looking to find the problem, if there is one. Please stay calm and remain seated."
At least he did not lie. Did not say that it would all be okay.
The expecting wife squeezed her husband's hand in response, but her eyes met mine. She knew.
I could see it in the way she looked at me.
She knew we would all die.
I think she knew I did too.
The woman did something unexpected then. She grabbed my hand with her free one.
"You aren't alone." She said, her voice wavering a bit. "We're in this together."
If we have to die, we will die together. I understood this as the hidden message.
I didn't know what to say. I never met someone so willing to take me in. To use 'we' in a situation like this.
Funny how you can meet your hero moments before your death.
"Thank you." I told her, not able to keep my tears in anymore.
"I'm ready." She said. Her husband looked terrified, like he realized only now what we were implying.
"I'm ready too." I said, tears really coming out now. The woman gave me a sad smile.
I was ready though. I knew I would die, but I would die holding the hand of a pregnant angel.
Then came the explosion. It was huge, I'm sure they felt it back on the ground. It rattled my bones as it tore me. I felt so much pain, and so much heat. Then it stopped. And just like that, in what seemed like seconds, I was dead.
As I waited for my soul to be carried away, I wondered which was better. To take the ladder down like I did, or dove right into the water. I wondered if the woman who held my hand took the ladder, or if it was possible that - when she jumped in - she was already adjusted to the cold. I was leaning toward the second.
I did not expect to meet an angel before I died.
But the funny thing about plans? They never work out the way you'd expect.
I then saw death. Dark as night, silent as shadows, cold as ice. But I already went under the water, and I was used to the cold.
I welcomed him with open arms.