Anniversary of Air France 447-Personal Consequences of Death on the Flying Brick

George's Point of View

Elie Wiesal said “Because I remember, I despair. Because I remember, I have the duty to reject despair.”

It is not time to despair. It is time to remember. We are remembering Air France 447, and the families whose lives have forever changed. Families left behind have to deal with carrying on.

Experts say that there are five steps (called the Kubler-Ross model) of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

After a year, or two, or three one might be able to say that families with tragedies to process have come to acceptance; but the model is not a hard truth. Those suffering grief may hopscotch between stages, or get stuck at any of them. And just as smells tend to refresh memory, so too can dates. And June 1 for Air France 447 families is one of those dates.

Maybe it is a blessing that everything changes. Maybe it is a blessing that the first moment of finding you have lost a loved one in a plane crash is not frozen in amber, to be felt always at the original intensity. It is inevitable that the depth of grief will fluctuate.

In the beginning, the deaths of those aboard the plane were shrouded in mystery. A black hole of mystery, in fact, one that swallowed up the craziest theories, from abductions, to terrorism, to aliens. The investigation marched on, to the tune of millions of dollars, and hundreds of investigators and professionals marched to that tune, working to uncover the puzzle pieces and put them together to shed light on what really happened. At least now, with the black boxes recovered, there are facts to deal with rather than crazy speculation.

But even facts will not change the reality. Those gone are still gone. At whatever stage you are experiencing it, the grief you feel is real. I have no advice for you. Anyway, advice comes across as condescending. But we all have suffered pain and grief and loss, and I can only hope for the families that you remember.

Remember the good things.

Remember mornings across your breakfast tables, the rush to begin the day, the slow times after the day is done.

Remember the moments spent together. Remember the depths as well as the peaks. Remember the places you went together, and when you revisit the places, you will revisit your loved ones.

The heart is not buried along with the victim. The heart goes on.

Originally posted by George Hatcher on Thursday, June 2nd, 2011