My Dad adored and doted on his family. He and my Mother were married for 62 years. They raised two daughters, my sister Debbie and me. Dad worked as a rural mail carrier to support “his girls.” If the budget didn’t afford us something we wanted, Dad would make it by hand or pick up another job for a while. We weren’t spoiled, just lavishly loved.
One of the few things Dad did just for himself was to fulfill his dream to fly small planes. I remember Dad working and studying hard to pass his pilot’s exam. He rented a plane at first and flew whenever he could. He eventually owned his own plane with my brother-in-law and another pilot. He loved to take people up in the air and share the big blue sky with them. One of his favorite things to do was fly to a neighboring state for breakfast on Saturday mornings.
Dad developed some heart problems a few years ago was unable to renew his pilot’s license afterward. It bothered Mom probably more than it did Dad because she knew what flying meant to him. But, Dad wasn’t one to look back with regret. When a door closed, he chose to walk straight ahead to new possibilities rather than lingering in the past.
When we were kids Dad would “fly over” our house. We all got quite a thrill when we heard the plane coming. Dad would circle the plane over and tip his wings from side to side. We would run out in the yard and wave happily at him, knowing he was in the height of his glory flying that plane.
Whenever a small plane flew over, you would find Dad rushing outside to see who it was. He and my brother-in-law could identify the local planes and who flew them just by their sound or colors.
Around Thanksgiving 2010, Dad was diagnosed with fast-growing, acute leukemia. Dad straightened his shoulders and determined to fight the battle. God had other plans and Dad passed away peacefully, holding Mom’s hand and surrounded by his loved ones on December 7.
On the day of Dad’s funeral, Mom, my sister and I, and our husbands were in the limousine headed to the cemetery. We had noticed a small plane circling overhead. As the plane drew near, we watched as the wings tipped from side to side and flew on – a classic fly over ! My brother in law didn’t recognize this plane and when he asked around, no one knew who had been out that day flying. But, we knew. Dad needed to assure Mom that he had his wings back. And, he needed to assure all of us that, even though his earthly door had closed, he was flying high and eagerly going through the next door.