I can’t think of a title.

February 23, 2010

My last memory of them was the day my beautiful boy came into this world.

My husband and my mom left the hospital to grab a bite to eat. I was alone in the room with my new baby, trying to figure out the whole feeding him with my boobs thing, when I heard a soft knock coming from the other side of the door. In walked the four most beautiful people I have ever had the pleasure of loving.

Susie floated in the room, her three musketeers in tow, her smile and presence lighting up the room, as it always did. As they always did.

Scooping Luca out of my arms, she quickly swaddled him and held him to her chest.

“I’m your Tia Susie, Luca”, she whispered to him in her soft voice.

Luca was then passed down the Jacomini receiving line, each of them holding him, welcoming him into our family. Our new, tiniest member.

Still way loopy from my c-section meds, I slurred, “Sue, how the fuck am I supposed to be feeding this kid.?”

She shooed the two boys behind the curtain and handed Luca back to me.

“Do you mind, Ali?”

Before I had time to answer, she whipped my right boob out, grabbed hold of it, and shoved it in Luca’s mouth. That was just like her. Never shy.

Vivi watched from the foot of the bed, so ADORABLY curious.

Is that how you used to feed me mommy?”

How could I have known how special this moment would turn out to be? How could I have know this would be the last time I would see them?

Oh sweet, sweet, beautiful Susie-Q. My cousin. My mother’s sister’s, oldest daughter. The cousin who had always been more of a mother figure to me. You see, there was a big enough age difference between the two of us that she did not consider me annoying, much like my other cousins and sister did at the time. She always made me feel more special than anyone I had ever met. I worshiped her. I wanted to be her.  I always thought that she was the coolest person I’d ever met. I still feel this way. She was.

One day, after kissing a few frogs not worthy of her, Susie met her Tommy. Soon after, they had their Vivi and Thomas, tiny replicas of each of them. The family was complete.

This is where I get stuck when I try and write about them. In my heart, I can go on and on about how wonderful they were, but when it comes time to articulate this,  I am never able to find words that do them justice. How can I possibly express how amazing and special they were as individuals, and as a family, with stupid fucking words?

True beauty, inside and out. No words are worthy of them.

So, I’ve stopped trying.

I will never forget where I was when I got the frantic phone call from my mother. Luca had been in this world for exactly 10 days. It was a peaceful morning. Just the three of us Zapata’s hanging out, getting to know each other as a family.

I answered the phone and my mom told me to sit down.

I sat.

The words came through the phone and punched me in the gut.

Susie, Tommy and the kids are missing.

Missing? I had no idea what she meant. Someone took them?

Panic started rising inside me and I asked her over and over, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN MISSING? WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY ARE MISSING?!!!!”

They had taken a final summer trip to Steamboat Springs, before the kids went back to school.

They flew up in their airplane, with Tommy in the flier’s seat, as they often had. The four of them together, in their small plane, loving every second of it.

They were expected back in Houston on August 15, 2008, as school started the following week.

That horrific call from my mom came early in the morning, on the 16th.

They had not come in. No one had heard from them. They were missing. All four of them.

The next 24 hours are a blur. So many feelings.

Hope, that Tommy had to land the plane somewhere and that they were all okay, waiting to be found.

Dread, that the worst had happened.

And it had. The worst thing in the world had happened.

The wreckage of the plane was found on the side of a mountain, not too far from where they took off.

No survivors. No survivors. No survivors.

To this day I cannot stop hearing those two words. They changed our world forever.

Left behind to try and make sense of something, that will never make sense, are two mothers, two fathers, a brother, sisters,  aunts, uncles, cousins, best friends, tiny classmates, and strangers who loved them, if only from their pictures  splashed all over the news.

I. Am. Mad.

A year and a half later, this still makes no sense.

This was God’s plan, is what most people say.

If this is true, then I don’t like this God.

Can God feel the hurt in Susie’s only sister’s, heart? Can he comprehend how wrecked he has left my aunt and my uncle and the rest of us that were left behind?

Because, if so, that doesn’t seem very kind or loving to me.

My beautiful and brave cousin said to me, “I can choose to be angry or I can choose to be grateful for the time we had with them.”

Some of what I feel when she says this is anger that she has to be saying this at all. Angry that she has to go through this and so sad that I can do nothing to make it better.

I am so pissed that the world keeps turning without them in it. I am furious that someone else is living in their house. I am pissed off that this story cannot have a happy ending. That there is nothing or no way to fix this, makes me panic.

So, yes, I am so grateful for the time we were privileged to have with them.

But, less angry? Not really.

I want them back.

The Boys doing what they loved.

My flower girl, Vivi.

Susie and her Thomas

Beautiful Sue

Sue and Vivi

Thomas and his mini-me, Thomas

Kind, wonderful Tommy

Sue, Thomas, Vivi

They loved each other more than anyone I've ever known.


Together forever


23 Responses to “I can’t think of a title.”

  1. Sarah Says:

    You have me in tears. Beautifully written. Beautiful family. Beautiful memories.

  2. christy Says:

    Beautiful, I’m crying my eyes out as I usually do when I hear you talk about how wonderful they were, how much they mean to you & how much you miss your four Angels.

  3. Thanks for keeping them so alive thru your words….mom

  4. mandibone Says:

    I am sorry for your loss.

  5. julie Says:

    I’m so sorry Allison. I know that you’ve let go of religion, but I wanted to share a post with you that I wrote about God and bad things happening. It may not be totally accurate, I’m going off what I know, but, anyway, here it is if you want to read it http://mama4real.blogspot.com/2009/11/revelation.html

    I won’t try to understand your pain or frustration, I can’t, and I won’t belittle it either– I can’t imagine the pain your family has gone through in dealing with this. I’m so, so sorry.

    • I will read your link…thanks for sharing!!

      Just to clarify…I’ve given up organized religion…there was just too many “rules” and “judgments” and it really upset me that it wasn’t more accepting to everyone. with that said, I haven’t given up faith and spirituality .

      thanks for your kind kind words 🙂

  6. Jennifer Says:

    When my Dad died from cancer I had a really, really hard time. It was very quick, three months, and he was very young, 52, and very unexpected, he was the picture of health. I still have a hard time some days and it has been almost eight years. That is really hard to write. Afterwards I cried and I got angry and I was confused. I told my husband that I didn’t understand I had prayed and I had really believed that he was going to get better and he looked at me and said, “He did.”

    I think if you believe in heaven and hell then you have to understand how much better off they are now. Yes, it hurts. It hurts us. But it doesn’t hurt THEM. They are better off. And they are together.

    This was an insane amount of tragedy for one family to bear. But just try to imagine the tragedy if only one of them had survived. I know that I would never be able to live with the pain if something happened to my entire family and not me. I would much rather it happen the way that it did and we would all be together. Although I’m sure that is not what you want to hear, and that it doesn’t help very much.

    I think sometimes when we lose people that are close to us we think that we should “be over it by now” when that is totally not true. It has only been a year and half and that is not very long. Like I wrote before, eight years and I still feel the loss. I still get angry. I will not lie to you. It does NOT get easier. But you do learn how to live with the pain. You always question why. But you never learn the answer. Eventually you just learn to live that way.

    I’m sorry.

    • It totally comforts us to know that they all went together. One would not have been able to survive without the other 3. no way. no how.

      I am so sorry for your loss. that is way to young and way to sudden.

      big hug. thanks for the words

  7. I’m so terribly sorry. I really don’t know what there is to say.

    Just, unimaginable.

  8. Val Says:

    This is heartbreaking and I’m so sorry that you and your family had to go through it – and is still going through it. We really do have to cherish these special people in our lives.

    The “together forever” just makes me well up. I sincerely hope that they are together somewhere out there and watching over you all.

    By the way, I read one of your comments above, and you may want to check out Unitarian Universalism – religion/spirituality-wise.

  9. @TheDeeView Says:

    Dammit – I just went onto your Blog to get more dirt about you, cuz I LOOOVEEEE your tweets and wanted to figure out how I could get you to like me and be my friend! And this just broke my heart. I’m so sorry sweetheart. That kinda BIG loss, doesn’t go away. I’m hugging you and kissing you! xx Dee Dee

  10. […] days after that perfect day, the worst thing in the world happened. I lost four of the most important people in my […]

  11. ann Says:

    There should be hundreds and hundred of comments of support here. And comments of celebration of this beautiful family that was stamped out so so so prematurely.

    My sincere condolences.

    I am so sorry for your losses. So very sorry.

  12. My father drown a year ago as a result of his addiction to alcohol.

    I am one pissed off hot red momma.

    I don’t “get” this God either. Clearly what I believed is not what is true.

    There are some days when I just CAN NOT accept his death and the manor in which he died, as truth.

    I never thought myself capable of such anger, to be honest.

    And its all I got to put into right now. Maybe it will change. Maybe it won’t. But it has been a year and that is all I feel.

    I wish you the best and hope you find some sense of healing.

  13. Cat Says:

    Amazing and haunting. I feel as if I’ve lost something for never having known them.

  14. Loukia Says:

    Oh my God. I am so so so so sorry. I am crying here at work – what a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful family they were. How tragic, how horrific. I simply can’t wrap my head around stories like this, not at all. Stories like this – your sad reality – will haunt me forever. These things should NOT happen. To children, to families, to good people. I’m so very sorry.

  15. Pammer Says:

    Your family is as beautiful as the love you have for them. I can’t imagine how hard that is – and I’m sorry for all of you. Thank you for introducing them to us so we can spend some time knowing them, too.

  16. […] losing them in the plane crash has only made it […]

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