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Thread: Letting Go

  1. #1
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Letting Go

    "Letting Go..."



    Maybe last night’s dream was what this was all about. A nightmare as vivid, clear and terrifying as I have ever experienced. It was a technicolor epic, complete with surround sound, the likes of which I hope I never stumble into again.

    I missed the plane. I know I was supposed to be on it. I don’t know how I missed it. Many of my good friends were aboard. Counting the heroes in the cockpit there were twenty people on board, leaving one empty seat for me.

    They taxied out without talking to ground control and I ran after them. I pursued them on foot, running behind the plane into the twin whirlwinds of dust churned forth by the huge Hartzell three-bladed props, that pulled the 60-year-old DC-3 forward. Uselessly I hollered into the wind “Hey You guys want me to get you a taxi clearance?”

    I caught up with them when they pulled into the runup pad. Standing perilously close to the spinning propellor as the crew ran up the engines, I hopped up and down trying to attract their attention. Still unable to see me apparently, they continued their pre-flight engine checks. The miniature tornado directly beneath and created by the rapidly spinning propellor tips threw multiple tiny pebbles outward in all directions. I felt the occasional intense and sharp sting as small stones struck my legs, torso, and windmilling arms.

    And then, in the next instant, I was watching the old Gooney Bird make her takeoff roll from a distance. It’s two, Wright radial engines, roaring and snarling as the propellers chewed into the dry desert air and shoved it backward, racing the old girl forward. I slowly turned my body and followed it as it thundered past my position. The tail slowly rose as the necessary amount of lift built beneath the wings to launch the mechanical beast into flight.

    I was distraught. All my friends were taking a trip somewhere without me. Had they not seen my seat was empty? And as the plane lifted slowly skyward and the wheels began to retract, all faded to black for a moment.

    And then, still on the ground, I saw the plane flying into my view from the left, engines droning at cruise power. Having circled the field to gain altitude, they were now passing overhead at about two thousand feet. They flew down the length of the runway again, apparently to reset their directional gyros before taking up their course to....where were they going?

    As they passed almost overhead I started to turn away. Then I heard a distant explosion from above I whirled on my heels and was horrified, as I again focused on the airplane. She now belched a trail of thick ,black greasy smoke from her right engine and a whip-sawing dragon tail of orange and red flames that, at times, obscured the entire right side of the fuselage aft of the wing.

    In a matter of moments the number two engine ripped itself from it’s firewall mounts and began a lazy tumbling downward arc. It fell end-over-end, rotating slowly, and still trailing black smoke as it plummeted to earth.

    Then reaching my ears came the sound of the remaining engine. It was that of an angry, defiant scream as, I could almost see the crew inside the cockpit jamming the throttles and propeller controls to the firewall. It was an attempt to corral every last possible, available, horsepower, in a dire quest for survival.

    Moments later the nose rose, and unbelievably...it kept doing so I was bewildered. Somehow, the plane had either gotten away from them or, the controls must have failed For the nose continued to rise, and rise some more. To my shock and horror they were soon vertical. And, from almost two miles away, I saw their airspeed slipping dangerously low. “SPEED GUYS WATCH YOUR AIRSPEED ” I screamed, as I watched in frozen shock as the ancient Douglas airliner continued into what now appeared to be a loop.

    “My God What are they doing?” I wondered as again they drew abreast of me, inverted in the top of the loop, barely hanging in the air.

    Of course, the DC-3's, as tough as they are, weren’t designed for acrobatics. As the ancient plane came falling down the back side of the loop, the vertical portion of the tail ripped from the airplane and the screeching sound of tearing metal reached my ears but seconds later. Yet, unbelievably, somehow, for a few moments the plane resumed level flight once more.

    But, without a rudder and one engine gone, only seconds elapsed before all control was lost and the laws of physics inevitably took over, as they must. Instantly the remainder of the fuselage aft of the wings separated from the rest of the body. Then, the wing and remaining engine, still howling at emergency power, begin an unending roll to the right that lasted until impact.

    As I continued to gaze skyward, parts came raining down. Big parts. Little parts. And many fell directly toward me. I was momentarily frozen. I was rooted in my tracks, unmoving, as I mentally calculated the probable trajectories of the falling pieces. And surely it seemed as if the largest piece, the wings with the still-turning engine attached, would crash to earth practically on top of me if I didn’t move.

    Stark terror gripped me as I willed my body into motion. And, looking back over my shoulder as I began to run, I was both puzzled and shocked to see that I was running away from my own front yard. It was the house that I grew up in where, it appeared, that most of the wreckage would fall.

    In two short minutes it was over. All the parts, large and small, had succumbed to the relentless law of gravity and had crashed back to earth. I was right. Multiple large pieces, the majority, had crashed right into my house and yard, with other smaller pieces scatterred about the neighbor’s yards and houses.

    In the now eerie silence, as I staggered, dumbstruck, back toward the house, already I detected the first faint odor of burnt flesh. And I knew, from past experiences at previous crash sites, that the smell would soon be growing much stronger and more putrid. The soft sizzling sounds of cooling metal pieces now began to break the ghostly silence. I looked upward to see numerouys holes in the roof of Mom’s house, and a huge one over the garage portion.

    MOM! Oh God! Was she in the house?!

    Inside the garage I found her car missing. Thank God! But there were piles of rubble everywhere. A blade from one of the propellers, sheared at the hub protrudes at a 45 degree angle from the interior wall. I remember thinking that the remainder of the long blade must protrude a number of feet into the living room, on the other side of the wall.

    I briefly moved some of the larger pieces of rubble, to look underneath. I had to assure myself that my mother’s body did not lie buried beneath it. I was relieved to find only more wreckage, and I turned then to head out the back door of the garage into the back yard. Again, my eyes beheld a horrific scene.

    A huge, smoking crater, had been created by the high-speed arrival of the two-ton plus wing and engine/propeller combination Along with the wing parts, they clearly dominate the scene. There are many other smaller, and shallower holes scattered irregularly throughout our back yard, but all of our neighbor’s backyards too. As already discovered, much white smoke, and soft sizzling sound emitted from quite a few of them.

    The bodies, whole or in parts, of all of my friends are notably missing it occurs to me. And then it hits me. They are all gone. Vaporized in the violent forces of the aircraft’s desinigration Riddled further in their fall to the earth, hardly a body part has survived. My anguish was limitless, and I wailed as I fell to my knees shaking violently. I have the dry heaves for a few minutes, and again the smell of burnt flesh overwhelms me.

    Finally, I looked up to see my yard and the neighbors yards being invaded by hordes of lookie-loos, scavengers and souvenir hunters. And, while I knew that almost none of them realized that they were breaking numerous federal laws by pilfering pieces of the wreckage; my mind was not engaged in a normal mode of thinking. I saw all these people as goulish grave-robbers and sick vultures. And, like a superheated river of lava from a volcano, I spewed forth invective. “STOP IT damn you ASSHOLES! Put that stuff back where you found it goddammit!” I swore between the sobs that were wracking my chest.

    And then finally the police and the accident investigators began to arrive and chase the scum away, securing the site. Relieved now, but still weak, I remained on all fours, unable to summon the strength to stand erect. A man knelt down beside me on one knee. Consolinly patting my back he asked me “Who are you son? What are you doing here?”

    Finally, regaining a normal breathing pattern I said “I live here, or at least I used to” and turned around on my knees to point to Mom’s house. And, unexpectedly again I was launched into the bowels of hell , as I looked at the back wall of the house!

    There, as if plastered on a billboard, or painted on a mural, were three eight foot tall faces looking back at me from the rear wall of the house. Not exactly horizontal, as though looking at the nose of the plane coming directly at you in a slight right bank, the left side of the “mural” was lower, rising “horizontally” from left to right. On the left side was the face of the co-pilot. The right side of the mural was the captain’s face, with another in the middle as though kneeling between the cockpit seats, and trying to help.

    All three faces wore masks of stark terror. Eyes bulged wide in petrifying fear, and sweat gushed from the brows of all three men. It was the masks they wore in the instant of their demise. This was not the ubiquitous “sound of impact”; so familiar to us all as the last noise on any cockpit voice recorder from an accident. This was instead the “look of impact”, final and frighteningly human.

    Only then, as I focused on the titled mural of the instant of death, did my conscious mind begin to stir. Amidst the sobbing and over the sound of my own mournful screams of denial, the conscious side of my brain began to kick in. “It’s impossible” I said aloud in my mind. “There is no way. “ I continued. “Even if the plane HAD crashed into the house and through the wall, it’s not even possible that those huge faces could be indelibly transferred to the bricks.”

    I realized I was dreaming. My GOD! It’s a dream! It’s a goddam DREAM! I want OUT! Wake up! Wake UP dammit!

    And my eyes opened up to a darkened room......

    CloudDancer
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  2. #2
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Epilogue...

    Panting and out of breath, I sat up in bed and swung my feet to the floor. Jesus, Mary, and Joseph! What a dream! I shook my head in the gloomy darkness to clear the last traces of the disturbing images from my consciousness.

    I need to pee. But on the very....veery rare occasions that I have had such nightmares, I have noticed that they occasionally continue, if the wakeful period is too brief. A quick bathroom trip and diving back under the covers in only three or four minutes, has often resulted in again, immediate sleep, with the dream resuming at the exact point at which I had interrupted it. I want NO chance of returning to this nightmare. So I pull on a golf shirt and, in the dark, find my sandals by feel in the inky blackness of the room . It is 11:50 P.M.

    I return in about forty minutes having smoked a couple of cigarettes and visited outside with some of my fellow patients. Surprised to see me out so late after my normal bedtime, my new friends of course pestered me, until I confessed my reason for the midnite sojourn. And, as we returned to our dorm rooms, one fellow resident said to me “Hey bud. Try saying ‘The Serenity Prayer’ before you go back to sleep. Maybe it will help.” Amazingly, I did, and it worked. I fell into a peaceful sleep.

    Again, in two hours, I awoke to answer “the call”. (We drank alot of water and juice there....)

    Right in the middle of the “program”, again my conscious mind jumped into high gear , and it hit me. This 28 day sabbatical was, in a big part, all about learning to LET GO! Let go of my past. Let go of the pain of past losses. Empty out the “footlocker” in the back closet of my mind. Throw it AND the “chains and padlocks” forever FAR away. Grieve and get beyond it.

    Learn how to face the loss of loved ones, along with the stresses of daily life and my job without resorting to megadoses of alcohol.

    I have been sober now for 29 days. The longest period of sobriety in over 28 years. One day at a time I got here. One day at a time I will go forward from here.

    Goodbye my dear friends. I will never forget you. But from now on, I shall think of you with a happy heart; instead celebrating the joy of the times we shared. Someday maybe, we will all fly together again on angel wings.

    CloudDancer
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  3. #3
    Speedo's Avatar
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    Cloudy,

    I'm glad you've arrived at this point. Very happy for you.

    Eric
    Speedo

  4. #4
    Steve Pierce's Avatar
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    One day at a time Cloudy. Has worked for me for the last 28 years. It gets easier with time.
    Steve Pierce

    Everybody is ignorant, only on different subjects.
    Will Rogers

  5. #5
    Snert's Avatar
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    Cloudy
    You write great sober too. Ditto to what Speedo said.

    Dave

  6. #6
    Bill Ingerson's Avatar
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    Dream's

    Cloudy, We all have our own personel demon's in one way or another.
    I have had a few dream's that were so real, my heart would be pounding. I find myself asking for God to come into my life and get me out of there and it works everytime. Ask him to put his hedge of protection around you and help you Cloudy it works. Tonight you will be in my prayer's and several other's on this site will join me. We will help you through these hard time's. Rest well my friend

    Bill and your friends

  7. #7
    Dave Calkins's Avatar
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    A wonderfully written description of your dream. Your writing is better than ever.

    As soon as I read the title, I began to hope that I had an inkling of what this dream represented for you. I was right, I knew it! You have pleased me so much by letting us know that you have arrived at this point in life.

    Honestly, some days it will be "one minute at a time". And that is how you will survive.

    Bless you Cloudy.

  8. #8
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Man.....Youse guys are too much.

    Ah'm a'gittin' all teary-eyed 'n stuff here....

    Thanx Friends.

    Cloud(pourmeanuthersassparilla)Dancer
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  9. #9
    FdxLou's Avatar
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    I officially have another HERO to go along with David J.

    Thank you for sharing, Cloudy. You did more good than you could ever imagine.

    Lou

  10. #10
    Rick Papp's Avatar
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    Cloudy,

    If you ever feel the need to talk to someone you can be sure that a few hundred of your Friends are here for you. I am sure this goes for you and any other members in this extended brotherhood. We Love You Buddy!!! Rick
    Never stay level!!!!!

  11. #11
    fobjob's Avatar
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    A Masterpiece, Cloudy...Better than ever. Welcome to your new life: also, better than ever...

  12. #12
    SJ's Avatar
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    Cloudy, you have a big family here that you have inspired over the years, and we care very much about you.

    I personally greatly appreciate trusting us enough to share this with us.

    We are all praying for you!

    sj
    "Often Mistaken, but Never in Doubt"
    ------------------------------------------

  13. #13
    WindOnHisNose's Avatar
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    Ditto to what they said, Cloudy.

    Randy

  14. #14
    gdrean's Avatar
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    Really glad to have you back with us. As others have said, if you want/need anything just let us know.

    Gary
    GDrean

  15. #15

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    Cloudy,
    Congratulations and good luck.

    My father fought this problem most of his life. I am proud to have shared his last few years with him being sober and able to enjoy our time
    together.

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,

    Gary Fields

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