This is unlike any post I have written before. It is important to share because resilience and perseverance is the reason why I wrote, and hope to make a motion picture, Lost and Found for the world. My wish is to help others in their times of strife.
In the beginning of March, my life truly was utopia. After all the challenges and trials I have had in my life, it finally felt like I could exhale. I was in total gratitude and believe me when I say, I could fully appreciate all of the blessings in my life. After all, I had been completely on my own at a young age, homeless a few times, and assaulted in more ways on more occasions than I can count on two hands. I scratched and clawed my way through my career then lost it due to 9/11, created a beautiful family and then had it nearly shattered, and sacrificed so much on the premise of some day having stability and security.
Yet, I had made it! I had found the sweet spot, the elusive “there”, the pulling back from full throttle to detent coast. In February and early March, and after thirty-five years of flying (almost 22 years for the major airline), I had my dream job and my perfect schedule. I had just been given a commendation letter about the extraordinary work I did in an extremely challenging situation. In addition, I had been given awards and was also praised for my professionalism, leadership, skill, and knowledge. My husband loved his job as a test engineer for a major aircraft manufacturer and had been there almost 20 years, the children were healthy, doing well in school, and enjoyed their friends and activities. Because I flipped houses to make money after being furloughed post 9/11, we have a nice home and a few rental properties that had renters who were doing well. My parents separately were doing fine, I had been put up for an Emmy award for some of my media work, and I was finalizing my second book. “Wow, how lucky am I that, thanks to so many people who believed in me and my hard work, my family and I are doing so well!”
By the third week of March as we all went into quarantine, everything changed. My family (and extended) all got Covid-19. The airlines all came to a screeching halt. The schools were all shut down. As of the end of June, my career seniority backslide has included a double demotion and what looks to be about a 50% pay cut when the dust settles, many of the co-pilots I have flown with will most likely be furloughed in an environment with very little jobs available, and we will be lucky if the airlines do not go into bankruptcy. I was told if I use my family medical leave days as per my case file in order to care for my Mom in the hospital with a failing heart, Dad for his cancer surgery, Son for his health treatments, that I will have my pay completely cut off. My husband has been laid off, the rentals are nearly empty, and we do not know what school will look like for the children this fall.
Yes there has been some tougher days than others, but everyday I choose to fight. Everyday, I ask Him for help, guidance, and support. Everyday, I decide that this day, I will make a positive difference in the lives of my family, friends, co workers, and world. I know we are fortunate to have the resources we have, that we are not in a much worse situation than we are, like millions of people are right now. I am not a “glass half full or empty” type person but I am one to say “Ok, that was then, and now what?” If there is a wall in my way, how can I get around it, under it, over it? How can we reach out and help other people in need? What are possibilities in this that I cannot see yet? (so much more in “Lost and Found”). And, in some moments when all else fails, cocoa pebbles and half and half help do the trick!
If you have read to this point and are still with me, please respond (here or in ‘contact me’) with your own words of wisdom, experiences, thoughts. I would love to hear them. Vulnerability is not one of my strong suits and as a pilot, you normally ‘never let them see you sweat’, but I hope this helps in my giving and with your sharing.