Monday, August 17, 2009

Our trip

The plane had three seats in a row. Judah took the window. I took the middle. I was prepared to warn the person who would take the empty seat, the person I already felt sorry for, "he's usually good on flights, so hopefully you won't be too bothered."
When he sat down, I was leaned over helping Judah with his seat belt. I saw Jude look around me with a teasing smile. Then Jude hid while smiling and peaking, begging the man to play.
I turned and saw the man sitting next to me; instant relief. Completely normal with abnormally warm energy. Judah instantly LOVED him.
When I read a book, Judah insisted that I "show him" the funny parts. Judah would laugh hysterically (I mean, the turkey had his shoe on his HEAD) and the man would laugh at Judah laughing. The nice man seemed to enjoy Judah more than humor him (I DO have mommy goggles, but I still think I'm fairly perceptive). They interacted for an hour. Judah laughed at all of his jokes wholeheartedly. It was the happiest flight I've ever seen.

But, looking back there were some warning signs.
The nice man sitting next to me was holding a small book of inspirational quotes. It was called something like "God's Little Instructional Manual for Men." I noticed that he would get full eyes and open the book and read a few random pages. Close the book and then look at Judah, who was waiting patiently for him to finish so that he could show him his hysterical book or extremely cool car.
I remember thinking that he must be a minister. Or something "holy." His energy was so pure.

He asked if I had been to LA before. I told him that LA was my home.
He said it was his first time. He had always wanted to go to California. To see the Redwoods meeting the coast. I told him he should see them. One of the most beautiful sights.
He told me he wouldn't on this trip.
"My daughter committed suicide. I am going for the vigil and to identify the body...and to search for answers."
Before I could respond, he continued, "I am just so grateful that I sat next to you and your son today. I haven't smiled for days. I didn't know I could. Your son lit my heart. You will never know what he has given me."
He showed me pictures of his daughter, the most beautiful girl I have ever seen. Exactly my age.
I'll always remember that flight and the nicest man I've ever met. Judah's good friend.

17 comments:

Jocelyn said...

Wow Danielle...isn't it amazing how people come in and out of your life and make such a mark. You and Judah were what he needed. Amazing.

Bethany said...

Judah....you have a soul that shines little man. You have touched peoples lives since you were born!

P.s. that was tearful!

Jana Kunz said...

OMG, that made me cry. You are so amazing at putting words to paper. That poor father, I couldn't imagine the pain he was in.

Amy B. said...

I gasped at reading the end of your story. I have tears flowing down my cheeks. What an amazing event. What a gift you and Judah are to so many people. There is a lot to be said about the way you and Tommy parent Judah that helps him be the sweet and compassionate little boy that he is. I know a lot of it is just his shinning personality, but his parents have something to do with it to. I am so glad you two were there to provide that man a few smiles in his grief. I can't imagine making a trip that horrific...to be going to identify your child's body.

Eastiopians said...

Woah. That is pretty heavy stuff. I am so glad that Judah brought some joy into his life right when he needed it. When the universe mingles like that so that we can help one another, even perfect strangers, it is simply amazing.

Nana said...

A truly amazing reality. Judah's gift and you and Tommy's nurturing his gift with all your gifts, is also truly amazing. You wish you could do more, but just living a positive life is more the universal cure, if there is even a cure... maybe a dose of real world reality is what it takes to keep our feet on the ground but our heads full of hope. Love and miss you all, Nana.

Chris said...

Danielle - Judah is not only a gift to you but a gift to all of us who feel his amazing "tug" of love, truly you were all meant to be together on that plane and what an amazing story to be able to relate to Judah .

Nicole said...

That made me cry and I'm at work. Love you and your special little boy.

Anonymous said...

Just... wow.

Jerrie

LISA said...

Wow..that wasn't what i was expecting to read...
Just wow...

J'Laine said...

Wow- what an amazing journey home you had. I can understand the way he felt about meeting you and Judah...you are both like a ray of sunshine- you both know exactly how to brighten someone's day! My heart aches for that man- what a horrible experience as a father...
miss you both....

Autumn and Dan's family said...

What a story...
I can see Judah's love through the pictures. Does he ever not have a smile on his face? What a powerful experience and beautiful boy.

Nicole said...

Why don't you blog anymore? Do you hate me?

celestialove said...

Very touching! Can't wait to meet Judah.

The Zimmers said...

Wow. Heavy. Judah indeed will follow in your footsteps and quietly leave a permanent mark in the hearts of many. Thanks for sharing!

Brenda said...

wow. such an amazing story. so happy you could brighten his life for a moment.

Ted and Lori said...

Dani. Oh my goodness. Beautiful Judah.