"Repairing Rainbows"

Published: June 20th 2010
in News » Local

Repairing Rainbows
Lynda Fishman
Pic: Lynda Fishman

Forty years cannot erase the memory of one of the worst aviation disasters in Canadian history. Flight 621, en route to Los Angeles from Montreal with a touch-down in Toronto, crashed in an open field in Brampton, ON, killing all 109 passengers and crew members on board. The cause: human error. For others it was just another news item, for Lynda Fishman, it was a personal tragedy. At the age of 13, she lost her mother and two sisters and her life was never the same. Her warm childhood was gone, replaced with supporting her devastated father. 


Deciding to share her story


A few years ago, she was approached by a well-known author to discuss his interest in writing a book about her story but she refused. “As tempting as it was, I couldn’t let him do it. It was my story to tell.” 


Another trigger came last year when she met Bob Page, a man who lost his family in another Canadian plane crash. “Bob and I had an instant connection and comfort with each other that comes from having found someone with whom you have an understanding. We both chose to start writing our memoirs on the exact same month and year.” 


Today, Lynda is launching her first book. It’s been a long journey, all the way from the tragic loss to building a new life, career and a family of her own, Repairing Rainbows: A True Story of Family, Tragedy and Choices.  For the first time since the disaster, Lynda shares her personal journey towards reaching venues in life that seems so obvious for some of us – family, happiness and career.


Different kind of goodbye


On the night that the accident occurred, she was with her grandparents in the US; the family was planning on celebrating the Bar Mitzvah of her cousin together. She came a week before the family with her Zaidy and Bubby to prepare the vacation apartment for the family. Her father should have joined them few days later due to his duties at work. Her parents came to say goodbye at the airport “This felt strange, like a different kind of goodbye… our family always did everything together.” When she recalls that night, telling her story in front of the audience that came to the book launch, tears are dripping. “I felt cold, I was terrified,” she said.


After the crash, Fishman and her father were left behind to face their devastating reality. The polarization of the life choices that each of them made in the years following the accident represents the heart of Fishman’s book. While her father, too overcome by despair, never managed to revive his spirit, Fishman made the choice to live.


Significant turn


Fishman’s story took a significant turn when, at 17, she serendipitously met her husband, Barry Fishman. His life, too, faced tough challenges. His mother died very early in his infant life and his father died when he was on his teens. They strove to help one another overcome their disastrous childhoods through determination, love, and tenacity. “We were two young people, essentially on our own but armed with courage and determination to create a meaningful life together.”


After 30 years together, Lynda, a trained clinical social worker, is the owner and director of Adventure Valley Day Camp, a leading Toronto summer day camp for kids, Barry is the President and CEO of Teva Canada. Repairing Rainbows is her first book.


“For years, I have not been ready to relive this horrific family tragedy. I knew there was more to my life story than the plane crash in 1970.  In spite of it all, I chose to live a truly meaningful life. I hope that my story will help others overcome struggles and obstacles,” said Fishman.

Related articles: (Repairing Rainbows, Lynda Fishman, book, airplane crash, Teva Canada)
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