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

The wisdom of no escape

Right… I have reached the end of my tether… My ‘fat jeans’ don’t fit me any more! In all the chaos of this year, my physical exercise has really been the element that has given, and I am eating tons of chocolate! Not really a good balance, but I am focusing on what is right for me right now, which is making sure that I can surrender to the ‘wisdom of no escape’ and accepting what I cannot change even if I don’t feel like embracing it-rather than winding myself up into a physically great but tense mess…

I often find myself craving the solitude and peace of walking by the sea or up a mountain. I had a panic attack about a week ago after Bio Dad passed out on the phone. I really thought for about 90 seconds, that he had died of a heart attack, because he has advanced familial dilated cardiomyopathy and chronic heart failure and he stopped talking mid-sentence.

He lives alone over an hour away from us, and there was nothing at all that I could do except listen to the silence and shout and cry down the phone to Dad in the hopes that he was still alive… It was like horrible deja-vous

Thankfully, he did wake up, but I think it means that he is declining into another episode of heart failure. His legs are numb a lot, he is exhausted, forgetful and clearly struggling to get enough oxygen. I know that it is a terminal condition, as is his advanced familial dilated cardiomyopathy; so I have to accept the inevitable, that sooner or later it will become reality instead of just fear… But I also have to cope with my powerlessness to change that too..

Its horrid, because people say kind things to me in an attempt to comfort me about my Step-Dad’s death: by telling me that it’s wonderful that he lived the life that he wanted to, without making restrictions, suffering debilitating pain or knowledge of his impending death, but all of those words now haunt me when I think about my Bio Dad’s sickness…

  • He is on a total fluid restriction of 1 Litre per day for the rest of his life.
  • He is on a salt restriction for the rest of his life.
  • He is never allowed to drink alcohol again.
  • He is on an ever-changing cocktail of drugs with nasty side effects
  • He is not getting enough oxygen in his blood because of his heart failure-which means that his quality of life is very limited, and he sounds drunk from slurring as a result.
  • He is depressed and forgetful
  • Every time I talk to him he wants to tell me about solicitors and wills.
  • He never calls me or the rest of my family any more, and has become incredibly withdrawn and insular
  • He admitted to me the other day that he has given up hope on ever meeting a companion because he has no desire to be intimate with a woman any more.

It is painfully obvious that he is going through all of the things that people comfort me that my other Dad escaped.

Bf was away when it happened, and so were the boys, and I honestly just didn’t know how to ‘come back down’ from the panicky, fearful place that the flash back had taken me to. But my daughter was my anchor, and I took her out to get some time out…

When Bf got home the next morning, I know I was distant and angry at him for never being there to support me when I need him the most. It’s stupid because he cannot help it… He’s an a long-haul airline pilot, so by default, it’s his job to be away, and I knew what I was signing up for when I got into a relationship with a (then future) pilot! But to be honest, you never imagine THIS stuff happening, I considered other negative adpects like jealousy, but not really having to go through family tragedy alone… The truth is: you never actually know what that means until the shit hits the fan, and you’re left holding the fort down alone.

At least when I was a single parent, people felt the desire to offer assistance when I went through difficulties, but when you are in a relationship, even a relationship with someone who is half way around the world at times, people just assume that you have everything you need, regardless of whether he spends a lot of time away.

The night he came home, at 4am I was awake ruminating and working myself up about all this. I got up, got dressed and told Bf I was leaving… I felt like I needed to run away from everything and everyone, even the kids, I felt that I was surplus to requirements and that I wanted to run away from everything and disappear into thin air… Bf was very sweet, but I ‘pushed’ him away (not physically), I told him I didn’t want him, that he was not supportive enough, and that I was leaving him.

As I got to the front door, I realised that at 4am, I had nowhere to go, and the irrational side to my thinking suddenly dawned on me, so I sat downstairs and cried for about 30 minutes instead. The next day I made an appointment to see my doctor who suggested antidepressants… That actually really annoyed me, because what I am going through is stress, grief, and bereavement, NOT clinical depression! I hate that the doctors in my practice are so trigger-happy with the prescription pad! There is no magic pill for grief, and I know that antidepressants would not take away the stressful issues that are beyond my control.

I accepted a prescription for beta blockers for the panic, but only as a precaution in case I ever get the uncontrollable desire to run like the clappers again. Thankfully though, my course of mindfulness was due to start the next day, and I am finding the practice to be very useful in gaining peace in surrender to ‘no escape’.

I am making more time for myself, and taking care to meet my needs, I even indulged myself in a full body massage at the manor house a few miles away on Tuesday, and a head, neck, back and shoulder massage today. I know that unless I look after my own needs and put myself first for a change, that nobody else will… My mum is in her own hell with her problems, and I doubt she’d even notice if I disappeared (I do feel for her, and actually booked her a massage today too as a surprise treat)… Bio Dad is too ill to notice if I dont call, and too insular and forgetful to make calls. Bf is self centred, and although he is making a lot of effort after my recent issues, it doesn’t come naturally to him to put my needs ahead of any of his own. Children are dependents, not there to look after your needs (though some parents seem
To forget that) and friends are great, but there is only so much you can expect of them…

I have learned the hard way this year, that I am the only person that can be responsible for my happiness, and I am taking that responsibility seriously; because only by allowing myself permission to put myself first, can I have a meaningful relationship with others and be a decent mother to my children. So I am trying to surrender to acceptance, and let go of control over what I cannot change, and do the best that I can at the things I can.


2 Responses to “The wisdom of no escape”

  1. I completely agree. We can only look at ourselves for our personal happiness.

  2. Letting go is hard though, especially when you have to be in control for your children and family. More than anything you just need to take care of yourself and your own well being. I am a fine one to say it but you do need to let BF in, I completely acted like you did. I was always telling my other half that he is not here so he can’t be supportive and I hold it against him, constantly wondering why I am with him. He has now been in Afghanistan for 5 months and all I want to do when he gets back is open up to him.

    Take care lovely, the biggest hugs ever!!!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: