The following excerpt is the ending to my short story in the Thank God I…book series. It expresses my gratitude for what I’ve learned from being part of the most calamitous collision at sea AND the greatest sea rescue in peacetime history.
• • •I am grateful for the catastrophe that taught me resilience, thereby bringing my life full circle: I am embracing heartily my Italian roots and reconnecting to my American family, creating new lifelines in the process. Being the author of one’s catastrophic experience can be a painful process, but the results are revealing and enlightening I realize that retelling the Andrea Doria story ran parallel to my inner struggle: when I felt weak, I buried it; as I grew stronger, I faced it, thus becoming its heroine. Do I still feel pain for my grandparents’ ultimate sacrifice of leaving their homeland, then forgoing me as a “daughter”? Certainly, but I surrender to its reality with more grace when my mother’s praise reminds me of the blessings: “Your grandparents would be so proud that your book vindicates your fellow Italians for the Andrea Doria tragedy.” Moreover, I’ve released the pain held within the series of abandonments, embracing new relationships with excitement.
Overall, I feel better prepared for treading on rough waters, grateful for having taken many lifeboats to transcendence. I’m confident that with future challenges, I will steadily climb another rope like the one that dangled along the side of the Ile de France, accepting another good fight in the miracle of life. Knowing that the Andrea Doria was my training ground for courage, I will gratefully say, “Thank God that traveling on the ill-fated liner steered me toward a life journey that I claim as my legend!”