153: Not Just a Number

For many of us, Sunday June 3rd started out like any other day…but for the 153 people on the ill-fated Dana flight (and those on the ground who also lost their lives), it would be a day like none other.

Questions rush through my mind, but of all of them one persists…insistent on an answer. Why? Why? Why? A blogger had managed to collect pictures of many of the people that had been on board that flight when it crashed. Why him? I wondered as I saw the picture of Adeleke Oluwadamilere, a fourth-year student of Bowen University. Why her? Uche Alasi, a young flight attendant who graduated from Feddy around the same time as I did. Why them? Fatoku Anjola, a young mother who was traveling with two of her children…the entire Anyene family – parents and four children.

Why like this? Death is one thing, but this kind of tragic death is another thing entirely – something horrible, sad, heartbreaking, and scary. Very scary. It’s scary to think that the people on that flight woke up that day just like I did. They made plans for their day and set out to accomplish them….just like I did. They planned a short trip from Abuja to Lagos, got on a plane for a one-hour flight and ended up going on an unplanned trip into eternity. It’s scary because they were people just like me. Real people with families, dreams, hopes and fears – just like me. Real people with unresolved issues, who laughed, cried, prayed and played. Real people with real families who are still devastated by their loss, even as many of us have moved on. It’s scary because it happened to them – and it could happen to me, to any of us.

Questions again…more questions. What’s the point? What’s the point of it all – the hustle, the stress, all the hard work – if it’ll be snatched away in an instant? What is the point, I ask again. There are more questions than answers.

Things like this can be earth-shattering and can throw one off course. What’s there to hold onto when nothing makes sense? How can you find safe anchor when the seas are so rough that your ship is broken up by the waves?

(Sigh). So many questions…not as many answers. But, I’m grateful that I can hold onto Someone who has all the answers. Someday, I too will fully understand why. Until then, I can only keep living, keep being, keep trying… and keep reminding myself that this life is but one short stop on the long journey to our final destination.

The 153 people on that flight (and the others on the ground) are more than just a statistic…more than just a number. Let’s remember them and continue to pray for their families.


Onyih Odunze