Yesterday as I read accounts of the terrifying flight of Southwest Flight 1380, I just kept thinking how amazing it was that only one person died. Thanks to a calm and skilled pilot, most of the passengers were saved even after an engine exploded and shrapnel from it broke a window.
It really IS miraculous, and the pilot REALLY is a hero.
But all the relief over “only one person dying” began to get to me. Who was the passenger? How had he or she died? I saw some passenger tweets that indicated a heart attack, and other passenger tweets that said someone had been partially sucked out of the broken window, but that other passengers had pulled her back in and she was ok. What really happened?
Someone DIED. The news reports were a bit too jubilant for me. Yes, dozens were saved and I am so thankful. But this one life was so precious, and now it’s gone.
Her name is Jennifer Riordan. Yesterday she was headed home to Albuquerque from a business trip in NYC, home to her husband and two children, and she didn’t make it. I read in an article on CNN that Jennifer and I graduated from college the same year. I went on two business trips to NYC myself last year. My name isn’t Jennifer but it’s pretty darn close…this woman and I are living parallel lives. But a freak accident took her from her family, and I am still with mine. It turns out, Jennifer WAS that passenger who was sucked out a broken window. And although fellow passengers DID pull her back in, she ultimately died of her injuries.
Life is short, my friends. Hold your loved ones close.
The loss of Jennifer Riordan leaves a hole in her community.
Jennifer was a wife.
Jennifer was a mother.
Jennifer was a daughter, a sister, a friend.
Jennifer was a beloved boss and co-worker at Wells Fargo.
Jennifer was a cherished volunteer at her kids’ school.
Jennifer was a valued member at her church.
Jennifer was made in the image of God.
Only one life was lost yesterday on that flight. The pilot and crew truly saved many lives.
But one life was one too many.
Jennifer Riordan, I’ll always remember you, and I’ll pray for your loved ones.
Mamas, life is short. LOVE BIG today and every day, and please…pass it on.