Friday, August 17, 2007

As One Door Closes

For those of you that know me, you know that I do a ton of research on the internet as far as locating people that I haven't spoken to in years. Yesterday, I found out that I am very close to getting in touch with someone that I have been trying to find for almost 20 years. You heard it right, 20 years! It's crazy to even type that number considering that I am only 27 myself.

Here's the story…..

On August 16, 1987, I lost a very dear friend of mine in a horrific plane crash that had affected the entire nation. This was NW Flight 255 out of Romulus, MI that barely made it off the runway before it crashed on the freeway and killed all 154 passengers and crew, including 2 people on the ground. The miraculous part of this story was that there was 1 survivor. Now the story would be great if I could end it there and tell you that my friend was the lone survivor, but that's not the case.

At 7 years old, I can still recall all the details of that night as my mom sat down with me at the kitchen table explaining to me that my friend Elizabeth Geiger was on that flight with her sister and father. I remember watching the news show the tragic pictures of the flames as they rose from the crash, as well as the yellow body-bags scattered all over the freeway. At the end of the newscast they scrolled through all the names of the victims in the crash and I remember holding my breath HOPING that my friend and her family weren't on the flight—they were. And I cried for what felt like an eternity in my mother's arms.

Throughout the next 20 years of my life I always had a special place in my heart for Elizabeth. Not sure why, or how someone who lived such a short life had such an impact on me. But she did, and I have NEVER been able to get her off my mind.

Two years ago I was having these recurring dreams about her and the crash, and I felt like it was some sort of a sign that I needed to look up more information on the accident. In April of 2005 I started looking up Flight information and came across a memorial sight. You can find it at www.flight255memorial.com if you are curious. I scoped out the guestbook and came across a woman who claimed that she lost her entire "Geiger" family to this accident. She writes on this site whenever the anniversary comes up. She also lives in Arizona. I remembered that Elizabeth's mother was the only one that never went on that flight that night and I was hoping that by some miracle this woman in the guestbook may know her or at least have some connection to the family. So I emailed her.

The woman claimed that there were two families on that flight with the same last name—sheer coincidence. And she, unfortunately, was not the Geiger I was looking for. She stated in her letter to me, "We moms who lose children never get over it, and to have someone remember them, make us feel very good."

I knew that I couldn't give up. Her words were too strong and kept humming in my head as I continued to furiously look for Elizabeth's mother, but I never found her. I didn't even have a name to go off of…I just couldn't remember. And sadly, I sort of gave up.
Last night I visited the website www.azcentral.com—I NEVER visit that site. I was bored, so I started looking at some of the news stories. I came across a story titled "Flight 255: Tragedy Lingers." I clicked on it, and it didn't dawn on me until I read the story that it was the flight that my friend was on, and yesterday marked the 20th anniversary.

I was once again acquainted with the horrific scenes and pictures of the crash just as if they happened yesterday. They even had video footage of the newscast on that very evening—just as I remembered it. I went back to that memorial website, and again I sifted through the messages to see if maybe Elizabeth's mother left any message on there—she didn't. So I decided to leave my own message on there with my email included just on the off chance that maybe, MAYBE someone from Elizabeth's family will contact me.
My wish came true!
A family member contacted me and informed me of the whereabouts of Elizabeth's mother. I was also informed that her mother also wrote a book about losing her entire family entitled "As One Door Closes." It brought tears to my eyes because now I can finally tell Elizabeth's mother that Elizabeth had a friend all along and that someone was ALWAYS thinking of her.

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