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.