Archive for February 2010

It seems so far away.

26 February, 2010

The life we had seems a lifetime ago and it has only been 5 months. It isn’t because I have moved on – far from it – but I see it in my face, in my eyes, in my tone of voice. It is as if the life prior to September was just a dream. A very long good dream. I look at our pictures and we look so happy and vibrant. I look tired and worn out now.There was one taken when we had Lido and your hand is on my face and laying around my head. For a brief moment I felt that touch. That warmth and caring in your fingers. And I miss it so much.

How do you fill up this emptiness? It doesn’t matter how busy I am or what I do. I feel a constant emptiness and I just don’t know how to fill it up. Someone asked me if I am finding happiness in anything. I honestly can’t say I am finding complete happiness in anything. I found it in you and us. Lido brings me happiness and joy like any child would but along with it I feel sorrow and sadness because he is growing into someone so much like you, like the both of us, looks like you with his smile and you are not here to see any of this. I looked at some pictures tonight and I revisit that old mantra of why? Why would something like this happen to us? Look at us! We were happy! Why was this taken? So no, right now, I can not find true happiness in anything because you are not here to be a part of it.

I took a couple of trips these past two weeks and I will say that just being in the sunlight and away from ‘things’ was good. It has helped these past few days but I feel like getting away again. Not that I can truly run from anything but for some reason I feel a pull to go. I’ve told myself I can’t act on this – not right now. I do need to get a little more settled here and enjoy what I have around me. Lido, the house, everything. It is just hard without you. I love you.


17 Months Old Today…

16 February, 2010

My Dearest Son,

You are officially 17 months old today. I really can’t believe how much you have grown and changed in the past few months. It is going by so quickly and I’m trying my best to hold on to everything and capture everything that you do. Your little smiles. Your quirks. Your new found independence. Well, it isn’t necessarily new found…just newly enforced. Your getting more and more hair and have developed quite the little mullet. I’m sorry but I will not be cutting it. You haven’t had hair for a year…It will get longer and I will continue to refuse to cut it and people will more than likely mistake you for a girl. I’m sorry about this. When you get to an age where you will be offended if someone mistakes you for a girl I’ll cut it. Until then…I’ll add it to the list of reasons why you are in therapy…

This past week you and I took a wonderful trip. Two flights and a boat ride to get to our destination. And the kicker was – we did this as the two of us. I’m glad that we did this. I guess I did it for many reasons. One was to just get away for a while. Another was just to be warm for a bit. Another was to just do this on my own. It is hard to go to the grocery store or run errands but doing this trip – well – I guess in some ways it made me feel a little stronger. A little more in control. It also gave me the time to be away from the familiar. The reminders. Actually – no – not really. I’m not sure what it gave me but I know I could just be with you and be with only some of my feelings. Some of my grief. I could leave some of it home. I was able to focus on a smaller portion of my grief and I guess it also gave me a bit of strength as well. Strength that I can do things like this on my own. Just the two of us. I don’t have to like it and I can grieve that your Dad isn’t here to do these things with us but I know that it can be done.

You on this trip – wow. Such a great traveler. You were a bit fussy on the plane rides and I don’t blame you. It was a long trip. You sat calmly on the boat ride over. Not sure what to make of it. We saw four dolphins on that ride – you were just taking all of it in. Our boat captain was quite a character. Not sure if it is in the good sense or bad sense….It was a private boat ride over so it was just the two of us. The boat was okay. The captain was pretty brusk and not really talkative. Halfway through the trip he picks up what looks like a Heinekin beer bottle and takes a swig and looks at me and says “ahh don’t worry it’s non-alcoholic’….followed by a wry smile. I raised my eyebrows and just had to chuckle. What the hell could I do at that point? I figured staying on board with captain Heini would be better than jumping overboard and swimming. At least I bought a life jacket for you…which you were wearing…especially since his first comment to me was “I don’t think you want any of my life jackets…there pretty darn musty smelling”…Probably should have gotten someone else. It does make me laugh. I know that I probably shouldn’t especially because I had you with me but like I said – what the hell was I supposed to do in the middle of the gulf? I think that your Dad would have ‘wrongly chuckled’ at the situation as well. It reminded me of our boat ride in the Bahamas to go diving…maybe we shouldn’t take anymore boat rides…

The first full day we were there it was great weather and you loved playing in the sand and digging your hands in there and throwing it and making holes. Your Dad taught you that. The last weekend we had with him we were at the beach and that is what he did with you. Taught you how to just be a boy in the sand. I’m glad you remembered.

The first couple of times the waves came up you just watched getting closer and closer to your toes. That was pretty funny to watch. After a couple of times getting your feet wet you had no fear of the waves…which of course made me even more fearful. But that is you. You sit back and see what happens and once you are okay with it you have absolutely no fear. Oh the gray hairs you have already given me.

You loved just being outside and playing. We took walks along the beach. We picked up seashells. You threw sand and seashells into the ocean. We saw ospreys and pelicans. A couple of dolphins from the shore. You loved walking along the dock and I think you would have kept walking off the side of it if I hadn’t been there to stop you. You loved having me chase you and falling flat on your face in the sand because your little legs couldn’t keep up with how fast you wanted to go. You absolutely loved laying belly down in the sand and wiggling your body. You especially loved sliding down belly down on any drift of sand there was. That just amazed me. The things you came up with and did and just got a laugh out of it. It is just amazing to see you do these things and watch the things you come up with. That is one of the things that I like about you. I love just sitting back and seeing what it is that you come up with rather than showing you something or telling you to do things. I don’t have to make you my monkey…besides, you come up with crazier stuff on your own and any time I try and get you to do something you just give me a weird look…so I just wait to see what you do or what you pick up on. I love it.

You had fun taking my limes out of my Corona and eating them. You loved the Cuban dishes of black beans and rice with plantains. That is pretty much all you ate while we were there. I had picked up some groceries of food that you normally ate…but like anyone on vacation you tended to go with the unfamiliar versus the familiar. I let you have M&Ms…oh how you are your Daddy’s son…You love chocolate! Tonight I let you have some chocolate pudding and you were so excited you were shaking. I’m glad that there is so much of him in you. And the classic – you had a mouth covered in chocolate pudding and you were sitting on the sofa right next to my white pillows…you looked at me, looked at the white pillow and sunk you face smack in the middle of it, giggled, raised your head up and gave me the most devilish grin ever (also your Daddy’s look) and just laughed liked crazy. I couldn’t believe it! Oh I’m still laughing about it. Somehow you knew that if you did that it would leave a bit ol’ spot on my WHITE pillow…and you also knew that I wouldn’t be able to help myself but laugh. The next 20 minutes was spent trying to keep you off of the rest of the white pillows…you laughing the whole time.

You are talking more and more. Everything sounds like a dog right now. I guess we need to get out to the zoo sometime soon…On one of our flights you kept pointing out the window and barking while a flight attendant was talking to you. Not sure why you thought there was a dog out the window at 35 thousand feet. I guess it is better than seeing a gremlin on the wing of the plane….

Yaya is much loved by you. The two of you have a good time together and you constantly search for her in her room when she isn’t here. She loves you very much as well and likes being a big sister to you. Sometimes she gets a little tired of playing with you and goes off on her own…which is followed by yelling for her by you. It is pretty darn cute. Although now if I leave the room or Nanna leaves the room you yell for Yaya.

Kisses and hugs. You are finally giving me more kisses and doing it on your own and out of the blue. We’re working on the hugs. You love it when I do ‘big hug’ to you. I could just do it forever I think. You have a couple of pictures of you and your Daddy in your room and each night before you go to bed we give him a kiss and tell him we love him. You never miss that part. I also try and tell you a story about him. I also read letters that people have written to you about him. I’m glad you hear these things now and I’m glad I’m doing that. It is hard and most times I end up crying. I figure you’ll be very used to emotion by the time you are three and you will also know how much your Daddy meant to everyone and also a bit of who he was to different people. We are so many things in this life – we are made up of the things that people remember us by. Each person takes a bit of you with them and when all of it is combined at one time it makes up all of you that could never been said in one letter, in one description. That is why I treasure the letters people of sent, the emails, the comments. It gives me peace – peace that you will know your Dad even though he is not here in the flesh with us. I’ll always be eternally grateful for this.

My child, you are growing so fast. You are making me see life through your eyes and I’m glad for that. You remind me that life continues and that there is joy in life still. You made me laugh and smile so hard tonight that my only thought was that it had been a very long time that my face hurt from smiling. I was singing the Bumblebee song to you and for some reason you just cracked up. You had a mouth full of noodles and peas and laughing hysterically. Your face was red and the belly laughs kept going and going and going…I must have sung that song a couple dozen times. It felt good.  Your Dad could get you to laugh like that at nearly everything he did…I was glad that I could do something that made you laugh like he always made you laugh.

I love you my sweet thing. We are doing okay. We will be okay. My love is with you always in this life and the next.

Your Mom

From Norway

1 February, 2010

Lately I have been wanting to go back in time, change things, make things different, feeling guilty, feeling like I could have stopped something…all in all just wanting him back. Yesterday I decided to pull out his MP3 player and get some music going…music has been hard to listen to lately, well, the past 4 months. Lido loves to dance and loves listening and I know his Daddy loved music and put together some Lido music so I thought it was about time we had some music going in the house because that is what we would be doing if Dodo was here. So I opened Dodo’s backpack to get the MP3 and I found some papers that I had put in there and promptly had forgotten about. One of the papers was a letter written by a student at the school to me, telling me of her time spent with Dodo. I hope that she does not mind me sharing it here (I won’t use her name) but it tells so much about Dodo and it also gave me some comfort at a time that I really need it…

Dear JVD,

Through internet and school we were asked to write about Douglas to you and your son. I choose to write you a letter instead of using the internet, to tell you how I meet Douglas and what kind of an impression he left behind. I must first say that I did not know Douglas personal, just through school. For the persons who read this, it may not seem all that special. But I know that Dodo has touched me as a person and for me the things you now will read about, is special.

From the day I started school in May 2009 I have been seeing Douglas around school but I never had anything to do with him before it was time for my Stage 1 private exam. It was scheduled but I was terrified of being judged in the manner that Douglas was supposed to do – so I bailed out a few days before the check.

Douglas was a busy guy so I caused him a little trouble at that time. My instructor and Douglas found another day for my exam, but now I was more terrified because I was scared that Douglas would be mad at me. Then, the day before my exam Dodo came up to me and asked if I was going to bail out again – I assured him I was going to do my very best the next day. He then smiled, giggled a bit and said good. Don’t let me down this time. It’s not that bad. I did not pu any trust in his words, it’s not that bad, but he was about to prove me wrong.

I came the next day, still quite terrified as I knw Douglas would decide if I was proficient enough to fly solo or he could think that my flying was awful. We started the exam and things went okay until I was supposed to do mathematics in my head and I totally got a brain feeze. That was when Dodo taught me something he called “pilotmath for dummies”. I could not tell him how many feet increased performance the helicopter would have in different types of pressure. But he taught me that in a matter of seconds.

Pilotmath for dummies.

I will never forget that. I actually use pilotmath for dummies every day, and every time I use it I think of Douglas and how lucky I am who got him as my stage 1 instructor. He also told me that he had a lot of tricks to remember stuff, because it was not too easy to get it all in. He told me to study hard and I would get there – just as he did. He really gave me a boost when he said that one day, I could be sitting on the other side of the table. Because he could see that I had it in me. Who was I to argue with one of the best pilot the school got? Douglas’s words that day, is something I will never forget and I know that he has touched me as a person in a very special way. For him, maybe, it was just another stage,  but for me it was the start of an amazing future as a pilot. I never knew an exam could be that fun and educational – and I know that it was all thanks to Douglas, an amazing teacher and pilot.

I passed my exam and went for my solos, the most special one: the first cross country solo. I always meet Douglas around school and he would always greet and ask how my training went. But one day is stuck to my mind. That was when Douglas asked me what kind of scary or weird situation happened on my first corss country solo? I thought about it for a second or two and I went for “nothing”. Then he sat down and said – think some more. I know it was something, everybody got a story to tell. I really don’t believe you when you say nothing. I gave it a better thought and of course there was somthing – so I told him “my story”. He stood up, smiled and said ‘you see. There is always something!’

Time and training went along and it was time for my checkride. I was standing outside the pilot lounge, waiting for the check rider to come along when Douglas asked me why I was so stressed. I told him I got my check ride and he asked me if I felt ready? Both yes and no was my answer. I told him I was scared that I would get too nervous and tense up – like I did on my flight with him. His answer: noooo…You got more hours now, you will do great. I’m sure of it. I believe in you so why don’t you believe in yourself?

That for me shows what a good person he was. He really thought I would make it, he believed I could do it. He could have walked away, but he took the little time to ask and respond. It’s the little things we remember, huh?

What I remember is that Douglas was a caring and thoughtful person who always took the little extra time just to catch up with the latest news. He was an amazing person, pilot and teacher. I will forever remember him and the way he influenced me in the beginning of my training.

And to end this letter I just really want to thank you for being such a wonderful person who supported your husband’s dreams even though it is a scary profession with high risks. I want to thank you for giving me and everybody else the opportunity to get to know Douglas and be able to learn from him. So thank you  for the opportunity we had, to get to know your husband Douglas.

Best regards,


Dear “Norway”,

I thank you very much for your words. I read this months ago and I am glad that I ran across them again yesterday. You see, lately I have been wishing that I wasn’t so supportive and wasn’t willing to follow his dream because that would have meant that he would be here with me today. However, your words reminded me that we are better people because of those that support us, love us and help us along the way. It reminded me that we, if we are lucky, can be greater than ourselves. We can choose to take the time to care about others and to support each other and thus no matter what happens in life, parts of us always live on. My question to my husband many years ago about what he dreamed of doing started a chain reaction where he made a difference in your life and showed you the support that you needed at the time. I have received other letters like yours that remind me that again, we are greater than ourselves if we take the time.

I know that I would have never not supported whatever it was that he wanted to do but it helps to hear words like this…ones where I see how he impacted people in the subtle ways of his personality. I loved him always for this as he supported me like this as well. He is a good soul.

Good luck “Norway” and safe flying,


ps. The last thing Doug was listening to was Pink Floyd The Wall…