Back in October, I started a thread about a low and slow tour I was considering, based on a trip my uncle George did back in the 1940's:
As it happens, I flew the tour in FS09 a couple of weeks after I started that thread. I didn't take the time to write it up for the Forum like I sometimes do, because it was a very low-key kind of thing, and it felt like a personal journey as I flew along thinking about my uncle and what it must have been like for him. I just did it in the default Cessna 172, and programmed in a radio failure for every leg of the trip, and flew it in real time using visual landmarks for navigation-- no VOR, no NDB's, no GPS, just speed/time and landmarks.
I did read a good bit about the Cleveland Air Races, and learned that back in those days they were held at what is now Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. They didn't move to Burke Lakefront until the 1960's, by which time it was more of an air show and not really races.
Last week, I attended my Uncle George's funeral. He and his wife and their daughter were all murdered by the daughter's husband, who then turned the gun on himself. This was my first triple funeral, and I can say that's not an experience I'd care to relive.
I flew to South Carolina for the funeral last week, and by coincidence, I met the man who was the other pilot on my uncle's flight to Cleveland-- it was my aunt's brother-in-law, and a life-long friend of my uncle. Unfortunately, I didn't have the chance to talk about the flight with him; it just wasn't the time or place.
But I was able to talk to my oldest brother and my mother about it; they both remembered very well when Uncle George flew to Cleveland. When George and his friend, Bobby, arrived at Cleveland, there was no place to land at the airport, so they landed in a farmer's field not too far away. Unfortunately, he had no way to contact my mother and father who were supposed to meet him, so they ended up driving to every air strip for miles around looking for him.
My brother remembers it vividly, although he must have only been four or five years old at the time. He remembered that George had learned to fly under the GI Bill (a US government education benefit for veterans).
Not long after he returned to South Carolina, George was married and started a family (the wife and daughter who died at his side last week) and his flying days were over. The last conversation I ever had with him was about this flight.
He was a sweet, gentle man who loved to talk and laugh, and I miss him. I miss his wife, my aunt, who could cook better and hug harder than any woman I've ever known. I miss their daughter, my cousin, who was a great beauty when she was a teenager.
And I'm sorry to dump all this on you all, but I'm hurtin'.
Speaking from experience I can tell you there is no easy answer, only time will heal what you feel now, and never will things be quite the same.
You aren't the only one who has went through this. My wife's niece, her husband, and their youngest daughter were all murdered about 5 years ago. The man who did it is now sitting on death row, but that is little comfort for the loss.
It's times like this that test us to the limits. Be strong, remember the good times you had with the ones you have lost and accept my sincere regrets for you loss.
You had a chance to relive his feat to remember him.
As far as I'm concerned your a full time member of this site and I for one enjoy being here with you.
If you hurt, I hurt. Many our age and older have had a great loss now sometime in our lives but none can compare with the one you have had.
Just so you know we're with you...peace...
This past year is one I would sooner forget
They say time is a great healer
Any time you want us,we will be here
Sorry to hear of such a loss. It saddens me to have this message of your loss. A little story of my own if I may indulge. My borther-in-law in Pa has driven cement trucks and 15 ton dump trucks for over 30 years. In july of 2004 he was driving the speed limit fully loaded about 71,000 lbs of gravel northbound and a trash truck southbound. When all of a sudden a pickup truck pulled out in front of both of them killing them. The driver of the pickup sustained a broken back and neck but survived. My brother-in-law and the trash truck driver were killed instantley. As it were the reason for this accident is the guy was angry that he couldn't get a part for a bicycle. This to me is murder in the first degree to have taken two inocent lives. Oh yeah the guy won't be prosocuted because there wasn't an intent to cause the accident. I greive with you Ed.
Ed, I am so sorry to hear about your uncle. I have no experience that even comes close to what you've just gone through. There are no words that I can say that would help. Just know that we within the aviation community, real and/or virtual, understand the connection you had with your uncle through aircraft. We feel and understand your loss.
Ed, sorry to hear of your loss. As you are a valued part of our family here. Your joy are our joy and your pain is our pain. We are here for you.
That's a terrible tragedy Ed, I can't believe things like that really happen in life. I've no idea how you must cope with the shock of this but I know from knowing you on here (I've been a big fan of your tours for a long time), that you're a great guy and you'll be strong.
All my best regards Ed,
(GPS Kid & Pro-Sim)
Ed, that is truely horrific !! My condolences to you and your family !
Thanks, everybody. I'm learning that just letting it out and talking about it actually helps. Thank you all for the kind words.
Any time Ed, I've been through it and know what it's like. Just being able to talk to someone can help.
My thoughts are with you Ed. Don't know what else I can say.. Good luck with the recovery and keep us posted on how you are feeling...Mike
There are no words to cover such a loss dear Ed.Sometimes silent thoughts are containing much more than speech...
We are with you.
I cannot think of words to express the sadness I felt when reading your message
I really don't know what else to say other than Becky and I will be thinking of you and your family during this terrible time.
you have my deepest thoughts at this sad time