I estimated for a road contractor who got his pilot’s license during my time with his company. It was for visual and single engine only, but it enabled him to pilot 12,500 lbs of aircraft through the south Texas skies. His delight in flying kept us flying to job sites in Alice and Sinton even though we were departing from the Corpus Christi airport.
Although most of our flights took us to relatively unpopulated areas and runways that had more coyote and javelina traffic than planes, we flew in and out of Austin several times for TxDOT bid openings. It was then that Roy would ask me to watch for planes.
“For planes! That’s what the air traffic controller’s supposed to do!”
“Yeah. But we still have to watch. If we see one too close, we can move out of the way. It’s the planes that we don’t see that could kill us.”
I understood that. I’m a fretter and that’s probably too small of a word. As kid, we had those nuclear attack drills just in case the Soviet Union lobbed a nuke toward George West, Texas. I was terrified and told our dad about it. “Don’t waste time worrying about that. The things you worry about never happen anyway so that worry’s a waste of time.”
Although he did not say or mean this, here’s what I took out of that conversation: Worry about EVERYTHING. Cover your bases. Don’t miss out on a single possibility.
It’s the planes we don’t see that could kill us.
As a mother who has lost a child in death, I spend a lot of time looking for the planes I missed in his life. What should I have done? What didn’t I see? How could I have stopped this happening? Why didn’t I do something different, anything that could have made it possible for me to hear his snoring this morning while I drink my morning coffee?
It’s hard to stop this train of thought. And I’ve found that part of my grief process is letting the train roll for a bit. Trying to shut it down doesn’t seem to work. Like worrying about the grade on a test taken, I know that no amount of worrying, agonizing, or analyzing changes life on January 15, 2009.
Something that I’ve learned in sobriety is that I have to feel the pain, let the sadness swirl and the tears flow. I hate that. But Fantasyland isn’t a safe place for this alcoholic to visit. I tried living there for too many years. The rent was way too high.
Better for me to write this blog and then wash the dogs, finish laundry, and cut glass for my current mosaic project. I keep a running monologue to God while I’m working. It generally starts out with a cussing. Lucky for me, the God of my understanding really is 10′ tall, bullet proof, AND doesn’t carry a grudge. There’d be a black hole where lightening took out my house if God did.
This day will eventually end like the 875 days since Jack’s death with the assurance that the tragedy of his death can never erase the joy of his life; that God’s gift of a child is a remarkable miracle; and, that peace and rest come to a grateful heart.