Thursday, February 25, 2010

How I honored my best friend on my 50th birthday (or You did what!?!?!)

 No recipe here today. It's pizza night here at my place. My hubby will go over to the hunt club around 5:30 and hang out with his Dad and brother till around 7ish. Then he will come home and cook himself a frozen pizza. He has been doing that for a couple of years now. Used to be his Mom and I would go to bingo on Thursday nights so I wasn't here to cook. The hubby loves a certain brand of  99 cent pizza ( I have tried and tried to get him to move up to homemade pizza, or at least a "better" frozen pizza, but he loves his red box brand pizzas) (I wonder about that boy sometimes!) and he is quite capable of opening the box, adding extra cheese to the top and baking it for himself. I have cut back on my bingo spending so I am home most Thursday nights, but, we have kept it "Frozen Pizza Night". I usually make myself a fresh pizza, using some Artisan bread dough I always have in the fridge, some green peppers, onions, a few sliced cherry tomatoes, some turkey pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Gee, I guess there was a recipe here after all. :)

I posted last Tuesday about my dearest friend Linda, and how she had lost her battle with cancer 5 years earlier. I mentioned how we would sit up to all hours of the morning talking, right up to her death. At the time she was battling the cancer, Tim McGraw's song "Live like you were dying" was popular on the radio. One of our "late into the night" talks was about not taking life for granted and getting out there and "living" while you could. Doing things you have never done, or doing things that are outside of your comfort zone.

When my 50th birthday rolled around a few months after her death, I started thinking about doing something to honor her. Something that would have made her laugh and call me crazy. A line in the Tim McGraw song mentions skydiving. Prior to Linda's illness (is cancer an illness? I think it's an abomination myself) I NEVER would have considered skydiving. I'm not against being in a plane. But, jumping out of one was for crazy people. And, I was certainly not crazy!  :) You know where this is going, right? :D

I searched on-line and found a place not too far from where we live that had an excellent track record for skydiving. Hey, I wanted to do something crazy, but I didn't have a death wish. I mentioned what I had planned to my beautiful daughter and she asked if she could join me. I was glad to have her come along. Figured she would be good moral support. Tried to talk the hubby into jumping with us, but he said he'd watch from the ground.

Long story short, we got in a plane, got strapped to an instructor, and at 10,000 feet above the ground, the door to the airplane was thrown open and out the door we went, one team at a time. I went first and my daughter said it was the hardest thing for her to watch me "fall" out of the airplane. When the door opened and the roar of the air rushing by filled my ears and I got my first birdseye view of the ground from that far up, what I was getting ready to do didn't seem like such a good idea any longer. In fact, it seemed like a really, really bad idea. But, with the words "Ready, Set, Gooooooo" out the plane door we went, head over heals.

For the first several seconds, there is a sensation of falling. And, then, it's gone. Just like that. You are still falling (at some 120 mph) but you no longer feel like you are falling. The wind is roaring in your ears and pushing at your face and body, but you feel like you are floating. To borrow a line from Pink Floyd's "Learning to Fly"...There's no sensation to compare with this, Suspended animation, A state of bliss
It was an incredible feeling. I don't think I have ever felt more "alive" then I did at that moment.

My daughter loved it! My hubby said he could hear her, hooting and hollering on her way down to the ground. I loved it until we pulled the shute, and then the slow, circular,  gliding motion triggered my motion sickness and for the next several minutes, until we landed, I struggled to not get sick. I succeeded, but it was close!

Would I do it again? Probably not. "Been there, done that". It was amazing. Incredible. Breathtakingly exciting, aaaand,  I think I will pass on a repeat. But, while I was up there, I felt so close to Linda and I'm sure I could hear her laughing.

11 comments:

  1. What a wonderful and fun tribute to your friend! I've always wanted to skydive but I have a fear of heights. Go figure!!!

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  2. Wow, kudos to you!! That sounds like an amazing experience. I've always wanted to skydive but the older I get the more fear I feel about actually doing it :)

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  3. This was a great comeback kind of post. You lived, loved, lost and found it all again. Great!

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  4. Susan you amaze me and I'm sure you made Linda proud. Great story.
    Mimi

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  5. What an awesome story! I literally teared up a little at the end. So glad you could honor your friend in such a great way and bond with your daughter too.

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  6. Lovely story and you are so brave to sky dive! I'm impressed as I could never do it as much as I would love to soar like a bird, I'm chicken. I learned to scuba dive and got 100 dives under my belt, but I was always happy to see the surface of the water. BTW, the pizza looks awesome!

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  7. Congratulation, you are very cool, I am very impressed!! the pizza looks delicious!!

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  8. I love your spirit! You looked totally free in those photos. I'll be back often to see what you are up to. Have a fabulous day...Mary

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  9. How neat that you did that! I don't like scary things, but I am intrigued by skydiving. I hadn't thought about motion sickness though...could be a problem for me.

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  10. You Are MY Hero! I have always wanted to skydive,but not alone, for years. You did it with your daughter AND as a tribute to Linda. What a beautiful gesture and an adrenaline rush, moment in life to always remember with your own daughter, experience. Hugs, Shandy

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  11. I laughed out loud at your husband's frozen pizza nights. Himself does one of those about once a week himself. I can't understand...once you go fresh, how can you ever go frozen again?? But he loves it, for some reason...

    It's always nice to remember how you and Beth went skydiving. I don't think I have the guts for it, myself, but I remain eternally proud of the both of you for doing something so brave and life-affirming.

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