When it comes, the world goes silent, almost as though it was in a vacuum jar. Piercing, persistent, and almost perverse in the gaity that masks the ugliness that follows its entrance. It doesn’t sound like the phone call that comes from a friend, a phone solicitor, a relative.
It’s sinister, dark, foreboding, and angry.
With more jumps than any on the planet, the Reaper is our jumpmaster, every time. With great consistence, the majority of us are able to give the Reaper the proverbial finger, a display of ‘f**k you’ in the most sincere and attitudinal sense. Once in a while, he gets his due. He makes his selection with arbitrary ease, grabbing both very experienced and not-so-experienced victims that have even momentarily turned their backs on wanton gaze and grim, grey robe.
When he wins, so comes the phone call, announcing the score that is tilted so heavily in our favor. One of our family has fallen.
We’re reminded of our own mortality, our own frailty, and our own ability to not be the MVP of every jump. Our hearts stop, our minds fixate, intelligence and emotion scream “WHY!!!!!!?????” “Why him/her, why now?” What about me? Am I next?
For non-skydivers, this is reason enough to never allow their loved ones to trust bits of string and nylon to save them. A skydiver understands the lessons to be learned in the loss of a loved one. We understand that it’s OK to say “He f**ked up and it cost him” while still loving and mourning. We revel in the life our friend lived, we reap the benefit of having known him/her, and we remember their passing in each and every skydive. We mourn, we grieve, we learn each time a voice among us is silenced forever. We all understand we have but one life to do something. The price we pay, the tithe we offer up for the passion and pleasure of a skydive…is a price we’re well aware of, one we pray we never fully pay up. Vindicated victory each time our feet safely touch the earth, play to win. Every time.
There are so many friends gone; none of them to ever be forgotten. It would be better still, if the sinister ring of the phone could be silenced.
To my friends; keep your head on a swivel, check your gear, and exercise that middle finger often. Find me in person; don’t let it be a phone call that tells me what you’ve been up to.