BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - Personal struggles and triumphs of a Flight 3407 widow are detailed in a book being released Monday. Writing the book has helped Robin Tolsma heal, after suffering a devastating loss.
Tolsma had a lot of hatred for a while. She lost her husband, and her two children lost their father.
"My hatred is going to make me one bitter person, and I don't want to be that," said Tolsma.
Writing her book Everything Changed has helped channel the anger and grief, shes says. The book pages have a larger than normal margin at the top, and they're not numbered. She designed it that way for a reason.
"You see the larger than normal margin at the top, so you feel like something is missing, and then you maybe put the book down to stop and do something else. Instead of remembering what page, you actually have to put something where you were last because the pages are not numbered wither, because I wanted the reader to be able to experience a tiny bit of my loss while reading my story," Tolsma explained.
The book's cover, a photo of a 3407 decal, was taken by Tolsma from the window of her car. She wanted to sharpen it for the book. However, her daughter Nikki told her to leave it because of a subtle image in the upper right-hand corner of the photo.
Tolsma said, "She said it's right here. She said it's an angel with her arms out, and the wings are behind her. And as soon as she said that I could see it as clear as day. But I didn't notice it before. So I went back and looked at the original photo and sure enough, it's on the original photo too."
Tolsma thought it was weird, and decided she wanted to change the cover to make it crisper. However, after losing nearly her entire project on the computer, she decided to leave things as they are.
Tolsma said, "I will see it as a good luck sign that I have one angel who's going to say, you know what, okay good job with the book. You'll inspire other people to know that there isn't anything that's so bad than you can't get through. That you can't ask for help. That you can't lean on somebody."
Continental Connection Flight 3407 crashed in Clarence Center on February 12th, 2009 . Tolsma's husband Darren died in the crash with 49 other people. She sued along with other 3407 family members. However, instead of going to trial, she decided to settle the case.
"That was not a wound I wanted to open up for my kids. I knew that the first day that my son or daughter was on that stand they would say to them, tell us about that day you found out that your dad died. I didn't want to have to take them back to that place," said Tolsma.
Tolsma and other have been fighting long and hard for aviation safety reforms.
In May 2010, a handful of them met with President Obama during his visit to Buffalo . Tolsma was among them, and writes that she was disappointed by what the president did not say.
"I was because at that day he didn't give us his word that he would push legislation forward. He gave us his assurance that he would sign the bill when it was put on his desk," said Tolsma. "I actually wanted him to say that he was going to come down harder on the FAA to make the skies safer."
While there have been some victories in the fight for reforms, Tolsma says there is much work to be done. She gives the credit to a core group of 3407 families, the ones who stay visible, vocal and unrelenting.
"I don't think that this group is going to go away until we can rest at night and say our job is done."
Tolsma's book delves into her personal struggles, like the time she tried to take her own life. She also writes about driving the hearse that carried her husband to his final resting place.
Cold and breezy with snow increasing in coverage into the overnight hours.
A jury has convicted 16-year-old Dylan Schumaker of second degree murder in the death of his girlfriend's young son.
A Salamanca man has been charged with DWI after a traffic accident in the Town of Little Valley Saturday.
America's oldest state park is in the midst of a major makeover and officials are giving a clearer picture of what's next for Niagara Falls.
A second arrest has now been made in connection to a suspected meth lab on Saunders Settlement Road in Cambria.
A former doctor from Youngstown who admitted obtaining prescription pills through fraud will surrender his medical license.