I step out of the frigid air of day, sensing a light pulse of adrenaline through my body. My feet are stuck to the pavement as I stare up at the recreation of the failed ocean liner. I take a deep breath, knowing that what I’ve always wanted to see is in the edifice ahead of me in shining, miraculous colors. I feel ready, although I’m not sure if I really am…
A worker in a black and white maid’s costume welcomes me “aboard” the ship, handing me a card that signifies my new identity. I take the card from her hand, almost not wanting to proceed, but still doing so. I am also handed a portable phone in order for the survivors to state their stories through the speaker. I listen intently as I walk through the museum, wanting to know every single detail of what happened that night. I concentrate as I uncover the horror stories of the deaths of these families, especially third class. As I walk further into the museum, I can feel pangs of stress and despondence. I look towards the delicate artifacts that had always encaptured my intellect, knowing the detrimental toll taken on the countless families aboard the RMS Titanic. Little did I realize, the horrific accounts of these families would come to change my entire outlook on the significance of my own family.
Finally wandering into the temperature controlled room that held the iceberg, my sharp intake of breath runs through my lungs. I read the articles that recount the demise of the many families who stayed aboard the ship in the midst of the chaotic sinking. Many of the scenarios for the poorer families state that they stayed in bed with their families as the frigid water pooled around the floors of their cabins, knowing they would never have access to a nearby lifeboat due to their class rank. I plunge my hand into the 28º water and cringe at the thought of these families being completely immersed in the flooding ocean surrounding them. I look back at my own family, catching a glimpse of them looking around the freezing room in amazement. I don’t know what I’d do if I was ever caught in the situation where I would have to lose them.
As I approach the room that mocks the Grand Staircase of the ocean liner, I break into tears. This room is where reality and the accounts of the passengers collide as one for me. I finally register the rarity and value of my own family. Taking my first steps on the Grand Staircase, I fathom how many family lives have been lost to the dark, icy waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Running my fingers along the cool wooden railing of the staircase, I remember the countless times my mother has helped me grow both spiritually and intellectually. I don’t know where I would be in life without her guidance. As I walk into one of the final rooms, I see the remnants of children’s clothing, something seen to be absolutely priceless considering that child was part of a loving family. I shut my eyes tight, hoping something this tragic is never placed upon my own family.
When I finally reach the gift shop, I am still recovering from the thoughts that haven’t left my head this entire time. Another “crew member” walks up to me, sees that I am in no mood to have a conversation, and carefully backs away. I pick up one of the historical books, scanning the inked words on the page. I realize how significant my family life is, knowing that before this museum, I was foolish enough to not care at all. It is now 6 months later. The moment I took my first steps into this museum, I’d known something inside me was bound to change for good. Ever since then, I value every little moment with my family that I can grasp. I now have a sense of the significance of my family life, which was all caused by this wonder, this museum that I never thought would impact my life in a entirely disparate way.