The Day the Writing Died
Once upon a time, when blogging was still in its infancy, the names and faces of the authors were hidden. Anonymity was important because blogs were treated as online diaries. Sometimes they were confessionals, many times they were gritty insights into the souls of individuals we became anonymous friends with. At times, through clunky comment sections and even email, friendships were struck up over common experiences or beliefs.
I remember finally deciding to “come out” of the blogging closet to management where I worked as a flight nurse. The job is still, by far, the sexiest of the healthcare world. People were interested. My readership had grown and more of my coworkers knew about my writing. It goes without saying that being a flight nurse at a busy company was physically and emotionally risky. One of my peers once said that, “you haven’t made it until Emily writes about you on her blog.”
The words were my therapy, my art. I told stories of what it was like from my perspective, from my soul. I skated the very edge of HIPAA during a time in which its very definition was evolving.
Then we crashed.
I was there that day.
My sister, an operating room nurse nine floors below the helipad, felt the building shake. She heard the alarms, then someone rushed into her room declaring that it was a crash and all 4 people were dead.
So there she was, scrubbed into a case, believing I was dead.
In my heart I know that, during the routine FAA check ride that ended with the crash, there were no fatalities because of the pilot’s experience and intensive training. The training, an unusually high standard across the industry due to the high cost, saved both of the pilots were were on board. Our institution handled it with professionalism and instead of hammers being thrown and blame being the course of crisis management, good things happened. It was proof that training saves lives. In this case, potentially hundreds. It also led to millions of dollars invested to improve infrastructure.
Unfortunately, the toll it took on the staff was something less able to be quantified or fixed. Lives were changed. My life changed. It was the day I decided that my marriage wouldn’t last. Some people quit. Some never flew again.
As we watched the helicopter burn on CNN it was the day my writing died.
My sister and I have never been much for lots of outward signs of affection. It has always just been an unspoken, mutual understanding that we were each other’s rock.
I held it together until she pulled into the parking lot of the hangar. Never have I been more relieved to see someone. Never have I had a truer embrace.
She whispered, “I just needed to see you.”