28th Anniversary of Hot Air Balloon Accident

fear grief growth hot air balloon my story well-being Jul 21, 2022
Charis Santillie and her family watching the hot air balloon fill up and photos taken from the ride
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🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #009 here.

Today is the 28th anniversary of my family's hot air balloon accident.

In today's episode, I share with you some details about that day, the aftermath, and a few reflections I have on it. I also share three gifts I’ve been able to find that came from that traumatic experience.

If you've been connected to me for a while, you may already know that I was in a hot air balloon accident the summer I turned 19.
 It was the night before my Dad's 50th birthday. 

If this is news to you, I'll catch you up here quickly with the key elements—a crash landing left my Dad with a broken neck, me with a broken heart, and my Mom coping through alcohol.

If you have ever wondered (or are now wondering): What the heck happened? What happened afterward?

I go into the details in the episode, but before you go listen, take a look at these photos below—the first few are of Dad the afternoon before the ride, with pink and white dyed hair. (He was, and still can be, a goofy guy, which I love!) And above are some photos of us watching as the hot air balloon was filling up with air. I'm sitting on the ground; to my right are my brother and his wife and my dad (my mom was taking the photo).

And here's the newspaper front page: 


Go listen there, and I'll tell you all the details. 

I also share how I reacted that night, what my coping mechanism was, and how the experience led me to an unhealthy pattern of behaviors in my life.

And then, I share three gifts I have found that came from this tragedy.

I may not always see them right away, yet I do believe there are always gifts to be found in any experience. 

Here I am, 28 years later, as a coach and mentor, because of what my family went through and the path it took me on. I am now using my experiences to help others heal from their own traumas that have pushed them into unhealthy coping mechanisms of becoming busy worker bees at the expense of their health and happiness. And every time I share, every time I teach and coach, another piece of me heals in that process.


“We are the silver lining in any and every dark cloud we could ever find. There is no need to go looking for the light when you bring it with you.” 

– Tyler Knott Gregson

🎧 👉 Prefer audio? You can also listen to me share about this in podcast episode #009 here.

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