My father, who used to be, first, a Grumman Avenger Navy pilot during WWII, and, 50 years later, a private pilot, is in the landing pattern, wheels down and locked, landing lights on, and the runway lights have come on for his final transfer.
It was thus that I used all the flight analogies in my presumed final phone call to him over Skype, the medium which my sister was using to allow family members to see him during calls.
He'd long ago instructed us that in these foreseen end days (he's dying, essentially, from the effects of dementia, where the brain gradually forgets how to do anything, starting with the usual "can't remember" stuff which happens to us all as we age), to speak to him as though he was fully "there". Evidently, he was right, as he moved his shoulder as I spoke, whereas he's otherwise "resting comfortably" - which is to say, virtually inert.
Here's what I said:
Letter for Will Gundlach
October 3rd, 2011
This is your son, Skip.
I see you're in the waiting room for your final flight. The angels are assembling to carry you to heaven so you can be with Mom. Your brother Bob and your sister Betty have set up the arrival lounge to accommodate all the others who are eagerly awaiting your arrival.
I know it will be a great trip. What a great ride that will be, with angels all around you, giving you the greatest view of the trip.
I expect that Mom will be playing her pedal organ with welcoming music, accompanying the choir assembled for you. I wish that I could be there to lend my voice, but I'll be there with you soon enough, and we'll harmonize!
All my life, you and Mom made it very clear that heaven was "THE" place to be, and there's not a doubt in this world that you've earned the right to be there. I expect that the fitting room already has your wings ready, for you're surely among the angels in my life.
Just one example has been the lifestyle we're in now. Not only did you fully accept and love Lydia, my cousin who's now my wife, your annual Christmas gifts, over time, entirely paid for our new home, the Morgan sailboat Flying Pig, along with all the improvements we've made to it over the years. Every time we raise our sails, we think of you, as it was your annual gifts which allowed us to get new sails.
On your trip, Dad, if you see this strange looking animal off to the side, it will be Flying Pig riding along as your wingman. However, with all the angels doing the transport, he'll be just along for the ride, saluting his benefactor.
For that matter, I have no doubt that there will be a virtual armada of others flying along in formation, as you've benefited thousands in your time on earth. As you look around, you'll be surrounded by all those support craft. You won't really need any support, but they'll be your honor guard on the way to your new home.
Thanks again for all you've done for me in my 66 years. Flight Services is reporting CAVU and brilliant sun, with no wind. All that sun heating the ground makes for great thermals, which will make for a swift ascent. Have a great trip! I'll talk to you again soon.