Friday, February 10, 2012

Flying - What It Means to Me

Flying has meant many things to me over the years. From the time I was little and couldn't wait to get to the airport for a flight, to my first solo, to learning aerobatics, flying the PPC, and sharing flying with family and friends... all of these things have been important parts of my life.

This may be the hardest, most personal blogs I've ever written.

Two weeks ago on Saturday 1/27, Travis and I were driving to Houston for the BARF Club meeting. We were about an hour away when I got a call that changed my life. My Mother had passed away in her sleep.

It was hard to drive back to my house and luckily I had Travis with me to look up phone numbers so I could start making calls.

One call was to my friend Chris. When I told him, he asked if I needed to use his plane. Can you imagine a friend that would loan you something so expensive? It was the single greatest gift I've ever received. I was able to shorten my trip home from 9 hours to 4. I needed nothing more at that time than to get home. I'll never forget the generosity of Chris and Bill when I needed it the most.

Many people were worried about me flying when I was in shock. I knew it would be a good thing. I was able to focus on flying and only thought about Mom a few times during the flight.

When I saw Pampa on the horizon, I was happy I'd made it so quickly, yet reluctant to land. I knew as soon as the wheels kissed the pavement it would become real for me. I made it to the airport restroom before breaking down.

The day after the funeral it was time to head back. As I took off from the Pampa Airport, where I'd been so many times, I looked back at the runway and knew this town had changed forever. I flew over my Grandmother's house, then my Parent's house, and then passed over the cemetary, looking down with tears in my eyes.

Goodbye Mom, I love you and will miss you so much. 58 years is not enough and just isn't fair. I keep waiting for that call saying, "Hey, it's Mom..." I know I have to go on without you, but it sure won't be easy. Know that I have the most amazing friends a guy could ask for.

Jack "A Loving Son" Fleetwood

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