When our good friend died recently, my heart was broken into thousands of pieces. Not only did we lose Don, but it refreshed the grief of losing his wife three years earlier. One of my longest friendships and most dear, I thought my heart couldn’t break any more.
I was wrong.
Monday, after work, Mike sat down and said, “Chaz* has died.” I stared at him and thought he had lost his mind. Our brother-in-law is a healthy, intelligent, vibrant, and engaging man. He and Mike’s sister were due for a visit soon. This simply did not make sense. My mind was struggling with what he was saying and I kept saying, “No” over and over. Mike had to be wrong but the sadness in his eyes finally convinced me and I broke into wracking sobs.
Among his many accomplishments, Chaz had been a pilot for decades. He flew in the Navy and continued to fly privately when he got out of the military. As an engineer, he worked in aeronautics and when he retired he spent time with other retirees refurbishing aircraft. He had built his own planes over the years. His cars were not parked in the garage, since parts of planes inhabited that space. A couple of years ago he purchased a glider and was enjoying it immensely.
Sunday, he took the glider for another flight. It was a lovely day for it and he was happy to be in the air again. When he wasn’t back by late afternoon a member of the glider club contacted the local sheriff’s office to see if there had been any reports of a downed plane. The search began. Through pinging his cell phone, he and the plane were found. Chaz was pronounced dead at the scene.
My heart, which has been ravaged by loss over the past few years, is broken even more. Our family is overwhelmed with grief and it seems to be never ending. Prayers are always appreciated.
Most likely, this blog will be on hiatus. I trust you’ll understand that.
*His name has been changed to protect his wife’s and family’s privacy.
Donna Kemper put aside her art career to care for a mother she hadn't seen in over a decade. For seven years she followed her mother's journey into dementia, caring for her and putting forgiveness into action.