Inspired to fly solo

What Mel Did - Inspired to fly solo
Image credit: Melinda Fargo

Another source of inspiration for me this week came via a customer at work. A nice guy, but not someone I knew well at all. Walking him out of the premises, he asked the rudimentary early-January question: ‘How was your Christmas?’ Swallowing a polite, quick-bat response, I screwed up my courage and actually told him.

Since the London bombings, my youngest daughter has been afraid to fly and it was the year after, I believe, when she was required to fly from the USA back home to the UK on her own. In our final hug before she was driven to the airport, my heart was in the toilet. It’s something else when we have to go through a trauma, but when it’s our children going through a thing, the pain drains the air from our lungs.

Long story short, she did it. She might not do it again in a hurry, but why dwell on future fear when you’ve just wrestled the current one into submission? That was my daughter’s first glimpse, I think, into what she could achieve even whilst being fearful. And not only did she fly again (and still not liking it), she has been inspired to fly several times over the years and is still only 21. Case in point, and over a 24-hour haul, she flew to Australia from the UK this month!

Another source of inspiration for me this week came via a customer at work. A nice guy, but not someone I knew well at all. Walking him out of the premises, he asked the rudimentary early-January question: ‘How was your Christmas?’ Swallowing a polite, quick-bat response, I screwed up my courage and actually told him. I didn’t bang on, but did explain how difficult Christmas has been for me since Bronnie’s death, and how this year I re-framed the experience and had the happiest of times I can remember in recent history.

My customer looked at me way past the usual English reserve and said: “I’m so glad you told me that. My wife lost her father before Christmas and it has been very difficult, but it’s good to hear that it can get better. You have been an inspiration.”

On this, the 6th anniversary of his death, Bronnie’s ability to really listen and talk to people inspired me this week to be honest when a near-stranger asked me how I was – and I was not fearful to tell him.

I think the soul scrabbles for ways to find happiness, even in grief, and today my happiness comes from Bronnie still being a source of inspiration to me, his family and friends, to others who knew him – and now to those who never did.

Like my daughter, I wouldn’t say I’m less fearful, because flying solo without Bronnie is still a life partway down the toilet, but I am looking less for ways to be frightened of a life without him. Now, I actively look to re-frame our life together beyond his death to find ways to be inspired because he lived.

RIP, Bronnie. I love you.

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