The last week or so has been rather strange and surreal for a lot of the time. There have been various things going on in my life that have had my emotions sky high, rock bottom, or just plain swirling around, and so I haven't really felt settled enough to blog. Most days we have managed to get down to the beach for a stroll and a paddle in the water before work, and so thoughts about the real priorities in life that matter have at least been in the forefront of my mind. I have started this week with yet another theft of machinery from, quite literally, about a hundred yards from where I was working, but I am trying hard to centre my 'Chi', and so this post is about the feelings surrounding eldest daughter Claires skydive for charity.
This is a girl who suffers from height fright when going up into the loft, and yet she had decided that she would raise some much needed money for the hospital that she works in by jumping out of a perfectly good aeroplane, thousands of feet up! She didn't (up until this post) know just how concerned I was for the whole thing. I suppose it's the whole parental responsibilty argument coming in with 'why didn't I talk her out of it', or 'is she aware that you either live or die', with no half way compromise of perhaps a broken leg if the parachute doesn't open. As far as know, the only other person to have parachute jumped will have been her grandfather, Opa, who would have undergone parachute training as part of his Messerschmidt pilot training, but she is the first to freefall.
Her experienced co-jumper was professional, as a worried dad I watched everthing he did, and the way in which he did it. Equipment was checked, and re-checked. He exuded confidence, humour and tact. But as she walked to the plane, I couldn't help but pray that she would be taken care of by a power far, far greater than me.
The take off, and the point of no return. She would either do it, or at the last moment when hanging face first out of the plane, would bottle it, either would be ok with me, but I felt that the disappointent that she would feel if she didn't manage to see it through would hang so, so heavily on her.
We counted the tiny dots of bodies as they left the aircraft that was way too high for comfort above us, and realised that Claire was indeed one of those dots high up in the sky. The dots eventually became people, with parachutes attached!
Finally, daughter was safe, and alive, and most importantly euphoric!
Me, well I had been anxious, scared, glum, terrified, interested, content, ecstatic, joyous, pleased. I suppose that every emotion went through me that day, but happiness and pride on seeing her face after the jump blew everything else away. Would I do it? Well, before this day my answer would have been a firm 'Not in a million years!'. Now, well, watch this space for a family jump next year maybe, in which Claire can show us what to do...... Poole Hospital, I hope you appreciate what your staff risk to raise money for you!
Below is someone doing the same jump that Claire did. Kind of exciting eh?