By Danielle St. Just
All I wanted in my life was quiet and peace of mind, a family that I know would love me unconditionally and I to them. Doesn't that seem like something everyone who wants to have? I know I did. But instead all I got was death. Well not their death, no to be more precise I am the one who died. Well death is a part of life. Duh. I was never afraid to die, my dad and I would take trips around America and one time in Europe to jump and swing off of mountains and cliffs, skydive out of airplanes, and parasailing in the pacific. When I turned 15 my life was nothing more than an adventure. And I love it. I told my parents I want to be a documentary film maker and see the world. Sounds like a good job no? They wholeheartedly supported me in my efforts and for my 18th birthday they bought me a high definition camera and a plane ticket to Australia. That next week I was on the plane and the beginning of the rest of my life. While on the long flight to the Great Down Under I was writing down in my Daredevil Journal the places that I would visit. Diving the Great Barrier Reef, climbing the Uluru Rock, which of course will be no challenge for me? Oh yes and of course soaking up some sun on Fraser Beach. Yes this was going to be the trip of a life time for me. But just before landing in Australia something went terribly wrong. The plane hit some nasty turbulence and we suddenly lost altitude, the plane dropped several hundred feet, it was so intense that over half of the passengers, who were not buckled in flew out of their seats and bashed their heads into the ceiling of the plane. Luckily I did have mine on and all I felt was a rope burn on my legs, I looked up and around me as the screams of the other passengers raged out from every earshot. What I saw around me was worse than the screams of the terrified passengers, just from that drop in altitude, there was blood everywhere, and the cabin was splattered with it. On the ceiling and the walls, from the other people hitting their heads and crashing their flailing bodies into the walls. Blood running down the walk way from the dead and by others who have been terrible injured from flying luggage. I couldn't fathom the destruction that was going on around me, all I was able to do was to pull my knees up to my chest and wrap my arms around my knees and bury my head, the only thing that I was able to hold onto was my camera bag. But soon I had to let go of it because of more turbulence and it flew out of my hands, hit the seat on front of me and ricochet hitting my shoulder. Through all of the screaming and "Help Me's" on failing aircraft I heard of loud pop and it was my shoulder bone breaking from the impact of my camera bag. I held my shoulder and tried to keep my head down so that it wouldn't get knocked off by flying luggage or a human body. I turned my head out from it being buried in my knees, and looked out the window. And what I saw made the whole world stand still. I saw my destination, I saw Australia, the one place in my life that I wanted to visit. It was beautiful, it seemed as what was happening didn't matter anymore. I saw the white sandy beaches and the light blue, crystal clear water, glimmering for the sun's radiant light. It was so magnificent, nothing I had ever seen before in my three years of traveling with my dad. I was so captivated by the breathtaking sight, that I could see my parents; I could see them on them laying on the beach, enjoying the warm breeze, looking out to the water and waving, waving at me running out of the water holding something. I couldn't tell what I was holding but I was shining bright in my hand. I put my hand on the window, not even realizing that the glass was cracking under my palm. Within a less than a second the window glass shattered and I was pulled out by the force of the wind. Nothing, I guess that's how I can describe my last moments, I heard nothing, I was thinking about nothing, all there was, was the blue sky which was fading away from my vision. Then black, but I still had a little bit of feeling left in my body and I could tell I was still falling though it felt like floating, I slowly but surely spread my arms and 3…2...1…. 'CRACK'….'BREAK'….are the last sounds that rushed into my eardrums. I knew that I was dead or dying and I was okay with that, even though I didn't get to explore this beautiful land I was able to die off the coast of it. Death wasn't as I expected it to be, I thought it to be terrible and lonely and heartbreaking, but it was peaceful and serine. I opened my eyes, I was shocked to what I saw, I was my body sinking in the water of the Great Barrier Reef, I swam closer, and I realized that I was smiling. I died with a smile on my face, and I smiled. So, with that I felt a warm sensation and a light coming from the surface, it looked like the sun, but I could stare into it. I felt as though I was being pulled toward it, so I didn't fight it and I swam toward the light. I was consumed by the force of the light, and I remember saying, "I lived."