To the Stranger Who Offered to Help Me on a Flight: You Don't Know How Much It Mattered

It was the first trip we’d taken after losing our pregnancy, and I couldn’t handle much. Deep breaths in and out. A smile at my kids. Getting to Disney World and attempting to take in the sights and smells was my only goal. Just get there, I’d repeat to myself. I’d wanted this time away with my family so we could smile again, if only for a few moments here and there. But the trip was bittersweet. From the moment we left, I was already dreading returning home, back to the reality of what had happened. So, when we arrived at the Orlando airport after our time away only to find out our flight was delayed by several hours, you’d think I would have been happy we could stay just a little bit longer. Instead, the unexpected turn of events filled me with anxiety and dread.

I remember sitting on the floor by the ticket counter, staring off into space. Worst case scenarios filled my head. What if we didn’t take off that night? What if we couldn’t get a hotel room? What if the kids started acting out of control and I couldn’t deal with it? Since our loss, I’d been having a tough time getting through the day when everything went right. When things went wrong, I fell apart, and our flight delay was proving to be no exception. Somehow, my husband convinced me to get up from the floor, and I practically sleepwalked to a restaurant so we could eat. Meanwhile, periodic flight updates pinged our phones, and things went from bad to worse. We wouldn’t take off until midnight, almost six hours after the planned time. My body practically vibrated with anxiety as I pictured the two-hour drive home with three kids once we landed at the airport at 2:30 a.m.

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