Ann’s Diary: Flying High

I was recently told that I remind somebody of the female aviator famously lost at sea trying to break a flying record–Amelia Earhart.

The first thing I felt when I heard this–beyond incredible humility at being compared to anybody so cool, courageous and female–is that I could see my resemblance to Amelia Earhart, too–but not in face. I could see it in the story of her being lost–her at sea, me in this freaking metastatic breast cancer world.

But my friend who compared us wasn’t getting that deep; she was just saying “her smile, her laugh and her spirit remind me of you.” So I pulled myself back from my mental cancer brink long enough to smile into the phone and say, “thank you.”

I think my friend said she’d been watching a show on Earhart which included photos and clips of the famous woman about to hit the skies in hopes of being the first female to solo her airplane around the world. After I hung up the phone I went to the official Amelia Earhart website to read up on her and find out what happened the day she was lost.

According to the site, in 1937 she flew into cloudy weather after leaving New Guinea in the Pacific headed toward Howard Island, a small piece of land that she never reached. After a 4 million dollar search, the US Government called off the search for Earhart, her navigator Fred Noonan and her plane. She had made it 22,000 of the 27,000 mile trip before she was lost at sea. She almost made it.

Which of course freaked me out. I mean, considering that she was so brave and so optimistic and that she almost made it and then she didn’t–well you can figure out where my comparison-mind was heading: “Damn..”

..and then I read a quote from a note she left her husband. Leaving a note was something she did in case the unthinkable happened–which it never had until this time. The quote is this:

“Please know I am quite aware of the hazards,” she said. “I want to do it because I want to do it. Women must try to do things as men have tried. When they fail, their failure must be but a challenge to others.”

And then I saw it. Okay, I thought, so I do have something in common with Amelia Earhart–besides a smile, spirit and laugh. I have her same mindset–at least this one, the one that says I will do this. Of course, unlike Amelia I haven’t chosen my present “flight path.” And if I could parachute out of this plane I would in a second–but that’s not an option. I’m seat-belted in whether I like it or not.

So I’ll keep the spirit of Amelia Earhart with me–not the one that lost but the one who wanted to win. And when I get worried I’ll remember that like her, I need to be out there in the world making my stand on what a cancer person can achieve in his or her lifetime–no matter what the disease wants, achieves or tries to steal from me/us.

And if my plane crashes someday, somebody else will pick up the pieces and set to flying out there on their own–until someday one of us makes it to the day where they land in a world devoid of breast cancer.

That’s a world record I have a feeling Amelia Earhart herself would have celebrated.



Posted March 23rd, 2012 by
Ann's Diary: Flying High
Posted in: Ann's Diary
  • sarah

    I LOVE THIS! And good LORD, do I love flying with YOU! xoxoxoxo!

  • Muzzie

    So interesting to read this – with all the renewed interest in Ameila Earhart these last few weeks – I too found myself looking at the pictures and thinking – “Who does that remind me of?” My sixty-five year old brain often forgets the names of my closest friends – when they are standing in front of me – so I forgive myself on a regular basis when I am playing 20 Questions or Charades trying to recall a name! Yes – it is Ann – my Ann – who I know so well and have never met. Whose face I have seen in maybe 20 different photographs in total. But your friend is right – it is your spirit that I connect to Amelia Earhart – the courage, the daring, the full frontal embrace of life. I know “Ann” because she has shared her life with me in her writing. You are as three dimensional to me as any of my loved ones. And, you always will be.

  • http://ProjectPink Project Pink

    Dear Muzz, I am so grateful that you are here with me on this ride. And I am beyond happy that you found me at this website. Let’s keep walking the path together–friendship in the 21st century is strange but wonderful.

  • Muzzie