Wow - I just realized that it has been about two months since my last post! I have been quite busy this summer! So I will try to update what has been going on in my life. I last wrote on Memorial Day. I will try to be more diligent in my writing!
On June 11, I had the pleasure of joining other Cirrus pilots for dinner at the CPPP in Allentown, PA. It was great putting faces to the names of people I have been conversing with since joining the COPA last year. After dinner, I was able to share some pictures and even a few videos of Tom, and tell the group about what kind of person he was and how he changed people's lives, even if he only met them once. I talked about learning of the crash, the days that followed, days present, and the days to come. I spoke of the strength that I have had in the past year, strength that amazes many people, but amazes me the most. Tom would have been extremely proud of me for speaking to the group and sharing our story.
On July 12th, it was one year since Tom's plane crash. I did not know what to expect, how I would feel. I decided to just take it one minute or hour at a time. A few years ago, Tom was mentoring a student pilot. She,Tom and I became good friends and I enjoyed watching Tom encourage her to continue on with her lessons and to someday realize her dream of getting her pilots license. She was out of the country when Tom died and was not aware of his death until some weeks later when I was able to contact her. She since moved to the UAA, working in Abu Dabi and is home for a few weeks. She called me and asked me if she could accompany me to the cemetary on that day. I was happy to have her come along. Not surprisingly, when I got to the gravesite, there had been many more before me. Tom's grave was covered in flowers, flags and notes. One person left a note tied to a small American flag. The note said that Tom will never be forgotten, particularly not by the writers family - as Tom often helped them out and brightened their day. The writer left some sunflowers, too, saying that they reminded him of how Tom brightened everyone's day. In fact, there were several bunches of sunflowers. I am not sure if they were from the same person, or from others, who also felt that Tom brightened their days. It was a beautiful, sunny and hot day, and I know that Tom would have appreciated all of the thoughts. It was very peaceful for me. Later on I went back to the site alone. I felt as though Tom were watching - telling me how proud he was that I am doing so well. I have come a long, long way in only 12 months. He most definitely would be very happy.
A lot has changed in my life in just 12 months. I lost my husband but have learned to live my life the way he lived his...try not to "sweat the small stuff", try to find something good in every situation, and to try to incorporate "fun" into every single day. I lost my job, but I recently found an even better one....one that is going to involve a lot of travel to the West Coast..one of my favorite parts of the country. I used to travel in a previous job and Tom often accompanied me when I went to the West Coast. He loved it and I know that my memories of him traveling with me will bring me lots of smiles and laughs. He was really great with my customers - always cracking a joke to break the ice when he met them for the first time. I will definitely miss that.
I have been working on my golf game this summer - and Tom is occasionally watching over some of those difficult shots. I recently played in a single elimination match play (made it to the semi finals so far) and "one-putted" a majority of the holes. That never happens! Even my partners said "We think your husband must be walking with you today - you have never putted like that before!" I do admit that when I am playing really bad, I often say "Tom, it's not happy hour yet - get down here and help me." Even some of my partners will say "Tom, get down here and help her!". We all laugh heartily and continue on.
My new friends say they wish they could have known Tom. I tell them that they would have never met another person like him...he was definitely one of a kind.
21 Jul 2011 16:41