I die every time there is a horrific plane crash.
Air disaster has happened several times in the past. And I have died many times in the past. I die out of shock. Then I inhale life again.
The deep emotional trauma associated with every gruesome crash leaves me questioning the mysterious ways of death. And it takes days to pull me out from the debris of throbbing ache and dismal hope. Life is so transient. Such was my experience at the news broadcast Last Sunday. A plane crash that shattered aspirations in such devastating magnitude. The reports of Sunday’s doomed flight tormented me.
And I broke down in uncontrollable tears.
Every plane crash agonizes me for days.
Every plane crash worries me to stupor.
None has been a palatable ordeal.
As I noticed the hurried steps of the cabin crew, a wave of fear envelope me. It has become the norm in recent times to be apprehensive of any air travels. The unsmiling faces of the Air hostesses wore pain that portrays an imminent danger. It appears that the cloak of death is hovering around. My instinct begins to mutter to me. But I cast out such villainous inner battle. I began to pray to God inaudibly.
My father and my God.
The Lord is my Shepherd…
Momentary Prayer set in.
I have been wired to observe facial expressions which speak volume no matter how one tries to hide the truth. At this instance, the announcement came off the speakers as the plane began to show signs of unstableness. Is this a minor unrest? Could this be whirling turbulence? This was on my flight from Frankfurt to Lagos, Nigeria last year November. And how terrified I was when the plane flew into thunderous turbulence in mid-air.
The atmosphere in the plane was tensed. There was a frenzy as people cast quick glances across each other searching for an ounce of strength. Once the pilot re-echoed that everyone should fasten their seat belt, I knew there was a looming danger. And I prayed silently. I tried to imagine that I could be in a deep sleep dreaming but then, I realised that I had woken up that day, showered, got dressed, and bade my family goodbye as I pulled my luggage along. I arrived at the airport Billund Airport, Denmark, just in time to check in.
“Don’t worry; I will see you as soon as I return, ending the call with the last family member I spoke to on the phone.” Always, I give minute by minute report of every encounter at the airport, as I board the aircraft until I lose signals and turn my phone into flight mode.
Initially, the takeoff was smooth and didn’t give cause for any trepidation. We were airborne and I exchanged glances with the passenger next to me, reclined my seat slightly, relaxed and began a ritual that I enjoy anytime I travelled by air. I enjoy gazing through the window to watch the movement on the skyscape. The outstretched mass of cloud fascinates me. The cloud looks beautiful like soft cotton balls with smiles scattered in the sky. I’m awestruck as the fluffy cloud transition into amazing forms and shapes. The reason I love reserving a seat by the window. I would stretch out my neck to view the panoramic airspace. Sometimes, amidst the cloud appear images that on a concentrated gaze become scary. I always shut my eyes if I catch a glimpse of any creepy seemingly ghostly image.
Regardless, I always reserved a seat by the window. I couldn’t afford to miss the sights of the cloud. The glimpse of the city upon landing at any new destination tickles me.
The fleeting life!
And the mysterious Death!
Thinking about the ordeal gives me goosebumps. It pushes me to a depressing melancholy as I search my mind for answers. But sadly, the answers are elusive because no one can adequately claim to know the mind of a dying soul. Their last thoughts and the rude shock upon the realisation that the end has come. Who can tell the state of mind of any passenger the moment they realize that danger looms; that their travel can be truncated abruptly; that this could be the arduous journey to fatality.
And I cringe.
It is excruciating to see death staring one in the face. The thought of probable death, unfolding right before your eyes send cold chills into your spine. Hot sweat form beads on your forehead. A tear cascades down your brow. Your chest tightens. You swallow hard. Aah! Is this your own death coming hastily? Unbelievable! This must be a dream. Gripping fear, intense pain, exhaustion, Nausea, Regret, all overwhelm your consciousness. You feel powerless and helpless and weak to save yourself from this imminent tragedy. You look all around you but there is no way of escape. You are trapped in the belly of the bird. You retire to fate as you surrender yourself in defeat.
God! You cry out. Your head raised to the heavens in that moment of realism and you ask him, but why Baba?
What a vulnerable state to be entrapped in.
What a crushing moment as you swallow hard to gulp down the eerie sting.
This brings me to the question – How exactly does it feel to die?
Does a dying soul see death in any form or image before their last breath? What becomes their last wish at the last minute before the final exit from this mortal coil?
Different thoughts have engulfed me since the tragedy that befell Nigeria, Canada, Africa, and the world at large last Sunday. It was a black Sunday and I can still hear the reverberating screams of people as the world woke up to the sad news. Since then I have been plagued by severe soreness as the reality of the colossal loss tug at my core. Ouch. Lives extinguished. Children, young and old. Women and men. Alas! Death is an inescapable destiny even as we try hard to avoid.
I have tried to picture myself aboard the ill-fated flight and each time, I die over and over again. Just trying to imagine the terrible feeling shrink my body as the tortuous pain wrench my soul. Since the sad news broke, I’ve lost appetite for food, for phone calls and for everything. Isn’t this whole chase of life utter vanity?
I have lost enthusiasm to work, to smile, and to even scribble. I walk stealthily like one going to steal some meat from mama’s pot of Nsala soup. But even food has become tasteless. My feet wobble. My eyes are tired and my lip dry. And there is no one to console anyone. The children are wailing. Loved ones have gone adrift. A shadow of aloneness has been cast down.
I withdrew to a solitary break to ruminate on the ordeal suffered by victims of a grisly end. The grim reaper is no respecter of anyone, rich or poor, young or old. No.
What was their state of mind at the very moment it dawned on them that indeed, their lives will be extinguished at any second? I ask again. I tried to answer these questions myself. Rhetorics. Death is ambiguous and mysterious. A jigsaw puzzle that defers logical comprehension. It was a moment when they’d wish it was a deep slumber and being tortured by the worst nightmare.
Tell me, what runs on the minds of the passengers the moment the plane begins its speedy descent and eventual plunge downwards. I dare say that reality certainly comes with panic. What could be worse than to imagine dying within a split second, of course depending on the circumstances? Does the passenger remain calm, conscious, as the end appears? What were their last desperate actions? I believe the moment before the eventual crash must be fraught with sharp fear and indescribable pain.
What an irreversible moment of existence?
When one wishes they were not in that doomed flight.
But alas, the hands of time can’t be turned back.
Is it fate? Is it destiny? Is it a curse from the village witches?
Or is it a means to settle a political score?
Or just the ineptitude and mediocrity of man, when such deaths could be avoidable?
What should we call this existential tension?
And I shuddered.
Almost immediately, the voice of the pilot startled me:
we’re… We’re… No, the engines are flaming out. We are going down! This is catastrophe… (the quake in the pilot’s voice spoke the truth)
We’ve got an engine failure. Seems like we’re not going to make it.
The weather is severe and the plane is losing altitude
We are a crash landing. We’re going down. We are…
That’s all guys!
I’m sorry everyone!
To the perplexed passengers:
Chaos sets in. But in the mind.
Anxiety jumps in.
God is summoned. The Spirits of our ancestors are invoked. Angels await.
Loud growl. Deafening screams. Wailing.
Oh God but why?
Is this happening? Is this reality?
Are we dying?
Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!
Oh God! Oh my God! Save us. Save me.
Pleaseeee savveee me!
Noooooo! Oh, Lord!
My Life… Ohh!
A deafening bang as the plane plummets to its tragic end.
An abrupt end.
Lights are extinguished.
And the end will come when it will come.
PS: Here goes my waking thoughts today.
Rest in Peace.
Peace and Love!
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