The hotel served a good buffet breakfast and when we went in the waiter seated us at a lovely table by the window. We could look out onto the bay and see the sun rise over the water. Once you have your table assigned to you, that is where you have breakfast for the rest of your stay. In a little while another couple came and sat at the table next to us. We found out they were from Lockerbie, Scotland and that immediately brought up the subject of the Pam Am airplane that fell out of the sky on top of Lockerbie. I asked them how many years ago that had been and they told me twenty five. The next day at breakfast we were conversing again and I asked them if it had landed anywhere near where they lived.
The lady's eyes got big and sad and she said, 'yes, about a hundred yards".
"What", I said.
Yes, it had landed in their neighborhood and at the house next door the son had gone across the street to the neighbor's garage to get help fixing his bike. At about seven o'clock in the morning the plane fell. It hit his house, killing his mom and dad and sister. He was the only member of the family that survived. She said he had not been able to deal with the stress and had eventually committed suicide. Pieces of the plane fell in their back garden (or as we would say in America) their back yard. At the house across the street an airplane seat landed in a neighbor's garage with a dead body still strapped into it. The trauma had been so great they had to have help coping with the stress. She told me that even now she has flash backs...I just can't imagine.
The entire episode has made me think about a lot of things. For one thing, man's inhumanity to man. Another thing, where humans have a unquenchable quest for power, all it can do is wreck havoc on other humans. Nothing good ever comes from it. And thirdly, there is no safe place. Safety in the present system of things is just an illusion. You just hope you don't meet with a fatal accident that can snap your life like a rubber band, but then you can never be sure. Sometimes we feel safe if we are at home, but her children had been upstairs dressing for school when it happened. Her comment was she had no idea how her family had survived, but it had made her realize that each day of life we are permitted is a gift.
They were such a lovely couple and we had breakfast with them for three mornings before they were due to leave. I admired their courage and their desire to carry on with their lives. They told us they had been to America two or three times. So they didn't stop flying or experiencing life because of their tragedy. When it was the morning for them to check out, we hugged each other and said goodbye. It was such a lovely thing to meet them, to see a part of the culture and livelihood of someone in another part of the world. And to realize that after all is said and done, we are not very different. We all face the same challenges and problems, but that if we try we can rise above and sometimes even soar....