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The Best Damn Pilot There Ever Was.

When I began writing this post, I was sitting in the San Antonio airport… My hands were shaking I was so full of anxiety. No, I’m not afraid of flying – quite the opposite in fact, I love to fly. It is the place I was going that had me terrified. Going home.

I lot has happened since I last posted, and I have been waiting until I the timing was right post this. Many of you have been following along with me on my boyfriend’s journey of becoming a flight instructor in helicopters this year, and most recently landing his first flying job a few months ago. You joined us in celebration of both of these accomplishments – and in achieving his greatest dreams. We were both overwhelmed by all the comments everyone left us about his story… that is why it saddens me to have to share this all with you.

Drew was flying up in Washington state on a 2 month contract drying cherries… on the afternoon of June 12th, he was riding along with another pilot to get a sense of the job requirements (always his way to try and get as much information as possible before having to go out and fly). While over one of the cherry orchards, they hit power lines and went down hard. It is my most devastating news to tell you that he did not survive.

The love of my life, my best friend, and the person who has inspired me most… did not survive. The man who was going to propose to me in a few months – i have learned – when he returned from this trip… the proposal for which I have dreamed of and imagined in my heart for several years. I had just picked out my wedding ring a week before the accident – the most beautiful ring I have ever laid eyes on. I was so excited that I started to show it to everyone I know. The man I wanted to have a family with and grow old with. Those few weeks before the accident, we had started talking about details of a wedding, and were just so full of excitement we could not stop ourselves. It was the happiest and most beautiful time of my life.

I have known loss, but this has been the scariest and hardest thing I have ever dealt with in my life. I lost my mother when I was 9, my father when i was 27, and I honest-to-God thought that somehow made me safe from losing any more people prematurely. I used to jokingly tell him “You know, you can’t ever die flying because I’ve already lost so many people, if you did it would just be like God hates me” *sigh* Really universe… really?!

And of course he was an amazing and talented pilot.. such that I believed 100% in his abilities, and trusted 100% in his decisions. I always said that if anyone could get out of a bad situation it was him. Unfortunately, he was not the one flying and never had any control of that situation. It’s not to say it would have been a different outcome, but it’s still a hard pill to swallow and always will be.

And now I am faced with a new reality, one that is so immensely unknown and terrifying. It will take years of healing, which right now feels like an almost insurmountable task to have to experience one day at a time. Especially when days feel like weeks right now. Fr now, its just living day by day, because doing anything more than that is not even possible. I still have my own dreams and ambitions, and you better believe that I am still going to achieve them. But for right now, there is only energy enough to survive and find joy anywhere I can.

I am sharing this with you, because you were part of the joyful journey, and you deserve to be part of the whole journey. And because this blog is about my life – the whole of it – not just the creativity… because the creativity comes from who I am and what I experience.

I am not sure how often I will be posting creative things for a while – everything is an unknown right now. All I do know is that writing is very important to me, and helps me to heal, so I will write whatever comes my way to the blog here.

So here I am now, finishing writing this post. It’s my first full day back home in Dallas and I am thoroughly exhausted. I have spent the month down in South Texas with his family – whom have made it very clear I am part of the family and always will be. I cannot imagine a more healing place to have been during all of this. The outpouring from friends and family alike has been overwhelming… and I do not know how on earth I would have survived thus far without all this love surrounding me. Even in the worst loss in my life, I cannot help but feel so incredibly blessed by the loving arms he has left me in the care of.

I struggle to find a way to wrap this up (and realize that I’ve probably rambled quite a bit), so I will just say thank you. Thank you for listening and for caring. I am grateful for every kind soul who has been brought into my life, and right now, more grateful than ever. It’s going to be a long, hard road from here forward – but to have been loved so fully by a man who inspired me daily has changed my life forever. I am a new person because of him. One of the things he loved most about me was my ability to find joy in even the darkest of times. So that is what I will do – day by day – I will find joy again, for myself and for him. Andrew Douglas Ridge, I love you forever.




16 Comments Post a comment
  1. Debra Lyn #

    Oh Sarah. That is so heart rending – I am in tears reading it and words cannot express how to portray my condolences to both you and his family. Lovely to hear his family are so very supportive and I hope in time you will find peace and comfort and the healing that you so need. I wish I could give you a hug so this is the best I can do [Sarah]. My thoughts and prayers are with you. May you find comfort in your wonderful memories of Andrew and the special time you had together. XX

    Thursday, July 12, 2012
  2. Oh that’s so terrible words can’t express. My heart goes out to you. Glad the family are coming together rather than being flung apart by it. You’re so right to try and find the small bits of joy where you can and to take time to just survive. In our fast paced world sometimes people don’t allow enough time for things and expect people to move on too soon, so you hold on to what is the right pace for you. His love will always be with you.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012
  3. My breath went out of me when I read this. I am so, so sorry.

    My parents are both pilots, and I enjoyed reading your posts about Drew and his flying.

    Thank you for sharing not only the joys of your life but your (immense) sorrow, too. It takes such bravery to lay yourself bare through your writing.

    I wish you peace and love as you grieve.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012
  4. I am so saddened by this news. Thank you for sharing this with us. We can all say we are here for you and we are praying for you. I know you will honor Drew by living your life well and you will carry him in your heart forever. Be strong and know that you are not alone.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012
  5. Claudia #

    My dear, dear Sarah, thank you. I love you,

    Thursday, July 12, 2012
  6. I’m so sorry…

    Thursday, July 12, 2012
  7. My heart is breaking for you. Godspeed.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012
  8. You have my sympathy, condolences and my heart. I have enjoyed reading your blog and to read this one, causes me pain. I pray you can continue each day with a renewed spirit, growing stronger each day.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012
  9. What can a reader, so intangible a person, say to a post such as this? My heart aches for you, for his family, and I will definitely say a prayer for all of you as I lay down to sleep tonight. I hope that, like many great artists, your creativity will blossom during this difficult time. Finding beauty and joy in times like these is a challenge, but a rewarding one.

    I found this blog through your freshly pressed entry about him becoming a pilot, and I think you honored him well both then and now.

    God doesn’t hate you, and I’m so sorry the universe has struck you with so much tragedy. We can’t ever see the whole picture, we just keep following our thread through the tapestry of life. I will be praying for you, and giving my loved ones an extra squeeze today. Thank you, as always, for sharing yourself with us. I’m just an intangible reader, but I am in the same state, same city as you even, and you’re in my heart and thoughts today.

    Thursday, July 12, 2012
    • Thank you so much Rachel, your kind words and support have meant so much to me. I am writing a lot, actually a whole lot that is not even making it onto the blog. For now, that has been one of my biggest creative outlets… and I have done a little bit of photography too. Thank you for the prayers and please keep them coming.. i am going to need it. <3

      Tuesday, July 17, 2012
  10. Oh Sarah, my heart goes out to you. I am so so sorry. I hope that your creativity will be like a life boat of comfort, inspiration and healing for you during this time. Thank you for having the courage to share this personal story. There are so many people who have been inspired and encouraged by your writing over the course of your blog. I hope we, your blogging fans and community, can all give back to you in offering our prayers and support. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    Monday, July 16, 2012
  11. Micaela #

    <3 Sarah <3

    Tuesday, July 17, 2012
  12. Marvin if u need to talk #

    Dear Sarah, I first wanted to say I’m sorry for your lost, I lived with Drew between 07-08, In New Iberia during flight school. The time I’ve known him I will always Cherish, I feel happy that Drew found you, seems like he was always searching for that one girl. My heart goes out to you, he was a great guy sigh….

    Friday, July 27, 2012
    • Thank you Marvin. I have heard so many stories from back in the day at flight school – its wonderful that you contacted me. I put your number in my phone. Are you on Facebook? I am here:

      Thank you again, connecting with his friends has meant a lot to me.

      Friday, July 27, 2012
  13. Sarah, I just read your Blog and my heart goes out to you. I am so sorry for your loss and wish you only comfort and fond memories. It looks like you are getting some much needed support from friends and family. Thoughts and prayers from me and my family to you and Drews family.

    Tuesday, July 31, 2012

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