It is again mid July. Inevitably, in mid July, my thoughts turn toward Tam 3054. On July 17 2007, five years ago, a Tam Airbus failed its landing at São Paulo’s Congonhas airport and stole a hundred and ninety-nine lives. The casualties always number greater than those who died. Each of the 199 touched had families; and each family exponentially touches countless others. I came to know each of the families, and I loved them. I learned from them, especially from their strength in the face of adversity. What I think of too, is how that accident changed me, how I learned from the families left behind to pick up the pieces and move on.
On this day, I want to remember these families, their grace, and their lost loved ones. We cannot forget that in their passing, a hole was left in the world.
I hope that the families—my well remembered friends—have overflowed the holes in their lives with something else. Five years of life. I hope they have taken the opportunity to fill to capacity these last five years with a life well lived. What does that mean? A life lived to the fullest. It’s the good and bad and everything in between. I hope that this well-lived life has lit their dark spaces with light, and packed the emptiness with new memories, each to be revisited, like the pages of a beloved book.
We are all each a harp of many strings, each string struck by memories that play one and many notes. The threads of our lives stretch from the past to future, distant anchors never seen and never known. Each day brings us a chorus of new, and distinct notes. Let us lose all regret, and only joy in the harmony of our histories and our tomorrows. It is the wholeness of these notes that is the music of our lives.
I hope that in filling the hole with new life, that my friends can now painlessly cast the net into their past. I hope they have learned to embrace the roses in December. Memories are for us to cherish, each one a forever jewel in itself. Memories are a constant gift of joy that is never lost; and as we can remember with poignant joy the roses of summer in December, we can remember our lost loved ones in July. I do not smile because I have forgotten. I smile because I remember.