“As I walked off the plane he stopped me and handed me a napkin and said he was sorry for my loss and this wasn’t much.”
There’s nothing harder on a parent than burying their child. Sadly, that’s exactly the situation that Tricia Belstra found herself in when she was forced to fly home to bury the son that she had lost.
Last month, Tricia was seated next to two strangers on Southwest Airlines flight 1076, and she struggled to hold back tears and not get sick on the flight. Holding an airline sickness bag between her legs, Tricia tried to hold on until the plane landed.
A flight attendant came by to ask Tricia if she was okay and to bring her some water. Then another flight attendant came by, and he could tell that Tricia was in distress. When he asked her what was wrong, she told him that she was flying home to bury her son.
The male flight attendant told her how sorry he was and then returned with some water, ice, and a Diet Coke. Tricia hands were shaking, so the woman next to her helped her pour her drink. Once the flight landed, the woman helped Tricia get her bags out. As the two headed off the flight, the male flight attendant stopped Tricia and handed her a napkin with a note on it. Once she had gotten off the plane, Tricia read the note, and it brought her to tears.
Here’s what the note said:
In 2004, my family lost my older brother. As traumatic as it still is for me, I can’t even pretend to truly know the pain you feel as a mother. I did, however, watch my mother’s grieving process (a process that will never end).
Firstly, being a mother is about giving birth to new life as a promise to the future. Your mission doesn’t end now – your son’s life is bigger than his death and always will be.
My mom struggled desperately chasing a faraway goal of somehow lessening the pain. As she has realized now, the pain hardly lessens.
Don’t expend your energy trying to chase this. Instead, go all out finding opportunities to experience joy. Visit family, get closer to those you’ve lost touch with, travel.
This is your story and you owe it to yourself and your son to make sure that you survive this. Do not pressure yourself.
This world is full of people who do truly care about you, even if it doesn’t feel that way. I won’t stop thinking about you anytime soon or how you’re doing or what you’re up to. You’ll come out of this a stronger person and I’ll be rooting for you the whole time.
Tricia never got the flight attendant’s name, but she went to her priest to ask him to bless him. The note gave her a sense of comfort during the absolute worst time of her life.
This just goes to show how powerful a small act of kindness can be!