When learning how to fly, student pilots practice something that is called a “touch-and-go”. You bring the plane in for a landing, but right as the wheels hit the runway, you pull the steering wheel toward you, fire everything back up, and take off again, barely touching down, never completing a full landing.
It makes sense to do this kind of exercise, to kill two birds with one stone, to practice these over and over again. After all, landings and take-offs are the most critical part of every flight.
I wish I had more practice at this in real life. I wish I knew how to turn a dive-bomb into a powerful take-off, an ascent of intention. A trip with a destination. Yeah, I know…it’s about the journey, the ride, and I have the “opportunity” to create a whole new life here! Well, blah. I liked the journey I was on, and it was nowhere near complete.
But apparently it wasn’t time for me to get comfortable in a marriage, to start nestling down for a family. Because here I am, airborne, jettisoned back into the search. The search for meaning, for happiness, for love—for what?
That’s how it feels when you lose your mate, no matter where you were at in your journey together. Talk about a rudely interrupted flight. A mangled, incomplete landing, from which you have to recover and take off again. Some couples just had a baby, then boom. Some couples had a rich, long history, and were finally enjoying retirement. Boom. Some, newly engaged, a wedding in the works. Others, deeply entrenched in parenting four kids (I know five different women who found themselves widowed moms to 4 kids)….
We all know there are certain climbs we make in life, toward milestones, and that after we reach them, we relax, we let go of the pressures, the anxieties. I wasn’t someone with a strict life-schedule or plan, I never assumed I would get married. But once I did, I was happy. I loved being married to my husband. Of course there are no guarantees in life, or in a marriage; a successful take-off doesn’t guarantee a smooth flight, or a successful landing.
I accept that this is now the place, from where I have to take off, that there is no other choice. I can’t land back in the past, I can only rev up the engines and hope to get lift. A feat of nature it will be, flying with directional instruments all messed-up, fuel-tank on empty, flight-plan in flames, control-tower on strike, and my co-pilot, gone.
Wish me luck, steep climb ahead…but I also see mystical mountainous cumulonimbus, if ever there was a dream-cloud to take respite in…
Your analogy about touch and go flying is so beautiful. It is such a vivid description of what grief feels like. I long to return to the past, the before, when my Mom was still here and my life (and family) felt whole…not perfect, just safe and content. I wish you luck and more for your steep ascent into the new, inspired by your flight and what awaits beyond the clouds.
Yeah, it was such a weird feeling, right after my dad died, (before we even knew my husband had cancer), I remember my mom and I looking at my brother, and all of us somehow realizing at the same time that our family unit was forever changed. In that instant, I saw my younger brother grow up, and even though we are all adults, I kind of wished he didn’t have to.
I do wish you luck. Your writing captures so much, so well, so heart-wrenchingly real, I often find myself in this Reply Rectangle, unable to put into words what I wish to convey to you – support – admiration – empathy – wonder at the journey!
Thank you Marga, I really appreciate your support!
I, too, wish you all the luck in the world. And I want to say how perfect your analogy is in this blog entry.
Thank you Jean!