Partner of a Pilot
The Candid Diary of an Airline Pilot’s Girlfriend

Volcanic Ash has robbed me of my pilot

I have really struggled this week… After we got back from France (for my father’s funeral). Bf had no time out with me at all. He got in, chucked his bags down, packed his suitcase for Asia, and I took him to the airport for his 6 day long-haul trip.  Coming home and being alone for the first time since my father passed away was gut wrenching. I so wished that Bf could have had just one night back with me following the funeral.

I put together a memorial page for my father, and wallowed in misery for the whole of that night and the next day. I didn’t dress until 2:30pm when my neighbour came around and I felt embarrassed that I was being so useless.  I knew that my Dad wouldn’t want me to slip into a black hole like this, but I couldn’t face up to the reality that I would never see him again.

That night my mum arrived, and we decided that the best tribute we could pay to my Dad now, would be to try and get on with our lives as best as we could.  He adored his grandchildren, and was proud that I was a good Mummy. So, as hard as it was, both mum and I went back to our respective new jobs on the following day. It was hard; and I did have a meltdown before I walked in, but I pushed myself on though it, and was glad I had.

Coming home at night was hard, I came back to the house and looked at all the flowers. I love having flowers in the house normally, but between me and mum, we could have opened a florist with all the flowers that we would now have to watch die over the coming weeks.  I sat down, deflated that Bf wasn’t home to give me a hug.  We did manage to speak on the phone, but he was 5 hours ahead, so it was very late.

Then my neighbour knocked. She had a beautiful miniature ornamental rose plant in a basket in her hands. She had taken delivery of it for me.  It was so beautiful, and was from a childhood friend.  I was cheered up by her supportive gesture, and glad that I wouldn’t have to watch it die, since I could plant it in the garden afterwards.

That night I still cried a lot.  I know I have to move forward, but it seems wrong at the same time for life to only pause momentarily and then just resume as if nothing has changed.  The next day I wasn’t working, and I repeated the day I had before until a friend reminded me that we had arranged to meet in the afternoon.  It saved me from a black hole for a while, but later that night, after she left I fell back in feet first. I missed Bf hugely and started watching videos of my dad from his 2008 Easter Egg Hunt with the kids… Beautiful memories, but it still got me so emotionally charged that I turned into a wobbly mess of emotion. I vented at Bf over the phone, and argued with him for staying out late, socialising with crew.  I felt like it was insensitive of him to be having fun until the small hours of the morning when I was so upset.

I went to bed and cried about my Dad, and then heard my mum screaming just as I was about to drift off.  I froze with terror. What the bloody hell had happened?  Was she dying too?  My pulse was racing, and I could feel my heart practically thumping its way out of my chest, making me feel sick. I leapt out of bed and raced into the spare room, and flicked on the light.  She opened her eyes and started crying, and rambling incoherently like a mad woman… She had just had a bad dream, she refused to tell me what about, just said it was about Dad.  I could sympathise.

I got into bed with her and just hugged her, she must miss getting a hug at night.  I spoke softly to her about some happy memories of the kids, and cuddled her until she fell back to sleep, before I crept back to my own bed.  It was 2:30am.  needed to be up at 6:30 to get ready for work!  Needless to say I didn’t get much sleep. I got to work this morning running on empty. Then I opened a beautiful letter written for my father (who’s ironic nickname was greyhound) by my uncle. It read:

I cannot see you now. You are in another room.

But I can still talk to you. You are there. And one day I will be able to see you again.

I miss you unreasonably much. Unreasonable because I did not really know you that well. You lived in exotic Normandy and I in Phuket. We met occasionally. So your passing should not have impacted my life so much.

But it has because you were always there – a bedrock.

You are practical, down to earth, the embodiment of English values, and totally dependable.

You were always there.

“In Case of Emergency Break Glass and call Greyhound.”

We might all meet in the wee small hours in Calvados-fuelled optimism and promise to congregate again at dawn for some adventure. But you were the one that would actually be there, and you would wait for us.

You were always there.

You have embodied patience to which most could only aspire. If proof were needed, you did live with my sister for so many years.

You were always there.

You loved to barbeque, and we would joke about it.

But it was always there.

I am sitting in Riyadh and reflecting on things. I wish I could be at your memorial (Dad’s name) but it is impossible for me. And that fills me with remorse and guilt.

Because I know that if the situation had been reversed. You would have been here.

In everyone’s life there is always something else to do

But you were always there – doing it.

And then you left for that other room in the untroubled way that somehow sums you up. You left quietly efficiently and without fuss when it was your time. That was very hard for those who loved you. We would have liked some time to prepare, time to adjust.

Because you were always there.

Now you are not here. And you have left a gaping fissure in all our lives

Because you were always there.

I started to cry… Oh God, why did I read it at work?!  I sat at my desk trying to control myself, but one of the directors walked past and asked me if I had hay fever.  I couldn’t ignore him, so I looked up, and he ushered me into the office where all the accounts ladies work. I sat there for a bit to gather myself and just as I composed myself, I got a text through from Bf that read  Shit, there has been a volcano eruption in Iceland and there is volcano ash in British airspace. All of the airports have been closed. I can’t come home. I am so gutted that I am going to miss Baby’s birthday 😦

I lost it. I couldn’t take any more. Since WHEN do we ever live close enough to a frikking VOLCANO for that to be possible in the UK for crying out loud?! Work suggested I take the rest of the day off, and guess what? I did. I couldn’t be strong, I felt like someone had it in for me. Is it too much to ask that Bf could be with me for this day?  He actually booked it as holiday, but clearly that means naff-all in a situation like this.  I do understand. I’d rather this than him attempt to fly though it and experience total engine failure, clearly… But PLEASE give me a break?

Sometimes I wish I’d fallen in love with an engineer!


9 Responses to “Volcanic Ash has robbed me of my pilot”

  1. Hey,

    Im so sorry about the loss of your Dad.
    Its never a good time to go.

    My thoughts are with you.


    I lost my Dad in the middle of my 4 year nightmare with soon to be XH. It was so hard to not have any emotional or physical support.

  2. I can totally understand you feeling frustrated, you are trying to hold everyone and yourself together in the wake of the devastating loss of your father. Keeping yourself busy and distracted can help you cope, but don’t push yourself into doing anything until you are ready. You need time to grieve and heal.

    Keeping everything crossed that winds blow the ash away and your BF can come home. I know the feeling as my BF is stuck down in Southern Italy. It is frustrating for us, so I cannot imagine how difficult it must be for you and your family.

    Take care of yourselves x

  3. oh, god, honey, I’m so sorry! I’m sending hugs your way.

  4. Oh no, that’s so awful! I hope bf is able to get back asap, it must be so hard when all you want is to have a cuddle and feel surrounded by the people that you love! It really is such horrible luck that all this has happened at once, I hope everything gets back on track for you soon, did I read you had a holiday booked this summer? That will be something to focus on and look forward to! I hope baby had a good bday and you can celebrate again once bf is home! I really feel for your day at work you described, I have been in that situation before where you can’t hold back the tears! It’s even worse when you’re new to a place, good that they were understanding towards you though and I hope everything is going well there otherwise.

    Big hug and I hope bf gets home soon to give you a real one xxx

    • Thanks Debs… It’s awful to be going through this at any time, but the timing, and being at a new job where I have to prove myself is definitely a pressure I could do without right now… Still, this experience puts life into perspective, and if they are not supportive, then I was never meant to be there.

      Thankfully they are being wonderful, and extremely understanding

  5. Honey…now out of all the things you have ever said, saying you would rather be married to an engineer just takes the biscuit! NO! 😉 xxx

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