Fighting For Pilots' Mental Health

I am going through one of the most difficult things a person can face as a parent, the loss of a child. My daughter, Amy Aniceto, lost her battle with cancer on January 29, 2015. She faced her disease with courage and dignity. Even though she did not show her fear in her final days she had expressed to me months earlier that she was afraid. Her fears were that she would be forgotten and for the pain her daughter would feel.

Normally, when I write the words simply seem to flow from my mind. I usually find putting my thoughts into written form an easy almost effortless task. However, today is much different.  Today it seems I have to search for the things I wish to express. I am questioning every sentence I form. I realize that my hesitation is due to the pain of grief that I feel. 
Let’s look at the grieving process. The expression of grief is different for everyone. Some people wish to be surrounded by loved ones. Other people want to hide in their homes and do nothing.  Whatever process a person chooses there is one certainty. Life goes on. Everyone will suffer the loss of a loved one in life. But we all must be able to move on. Moving on does not mean forgetting. We will always remember the loved one that has passed on. 
When I found out that my daughter had a short time left to live I called a friend of mine who had lost his son in an automobile accednt. I asked him how to get through something like this. He told me that is just the thing, you get through it, but you never get over it. 
My friend’s comment does not mean that we should never feel joy again in life because we have lost someone close to us. It simply means that we do need to go on with life, but there will always be times that will be difficult.  When those feelings of sadness and despair come upon us we need to look for something positive. Bring up some memories of the person you lost. Those memories do not necessarily need to be something that made you laugh or smile at the time. Remembering something the person did that made you mad could actually make you laugh now. Simply remember the person and keep them alive in your hearts is a big part of the heeling process.
At times I think that it is not possible to go on. I feel that if I let go of this pain I am leaving my daughter behind. But to be productive in life we must move on from tragic events. If we let bad things get the best of us we are then crippling ourselves emotionally.  Life is filled with difficult times. Some people have more challenges than others. It is how we respond to difficulties in life that helps us to build character. Remember the old saying that it is not how many times you fall down in life, but how quickly you pick yourself up that counts. 
The previous saying reminds me of something Micheal Jordon once said, “I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Anyone who has watched Mr. Jordon play basketball (let’s not mention his baseball career) probably does not think about his missed shots or lost games. Most people are going to remember Mr. Jordon for the amazing things he did on the basketball court. But behind every great success there are many failures along the way. So goes the grieving process. There will be good days and there will be bad days.  As time goes by the number of good days will outnumber the bad days. But having good days does not mean the loved one is being forgotten. It simply means that we are building on those missed shots and lost games to better our own well being. 

Keep and eye on the sky!

Collin W. Hughes 

The Prozac Pilot

I miss you Amy!

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