Two things can bring my adventurous and curious nature to a screeching halt. Death is one of them. Family is the other. Both of them have stirred things up for me. My posts had gone to nil because I was pretty much locked in my bedroom for over a week.
Eli Thompson a jumper from the Red Bull Air Force died in late August. I had only met him a few times, but he was a part of my base family. Considering that Shane McConkey (another Red Bull team member and the man who took me on my first base jump) just died earlier this year I was reminded that as a base jumper, I’m knocking on death’s door with every jump. They were both married and had children, and their deaths remind me that even family bonds have their limits.
Then, a double fatal skydiving accident took the lives of Barb Cuddy and my good friend Robby Bigley. I jumped at the same dropzone with both of them during the majority of my time skydiving. In my five years of parachuting, I had never known a jumper that has died in a skydiving accident. Robby and Barb both had thousands of jumps and were highly trained in their disciplines. Robby was recently married just weeks before his death.
A few days later, Leroy Buckley, another base jumper, was found dead at the base of a cliff in Utah. He had been missing for over a week, and I was so upset that I was not able to help look for him. His last email to me was just days before he went missing. He didn’t know I was in Colombia, and wanted to save me from boredom with a few jumps with him.
The good news (yet, still news that’s pulling me back home) is that my brother and sister-in-law are going to have a son later this week. He was not supposed to be born until later in October, but he’s been trying to come to this world early. We were all quite scared. Luckily, he decided until the scary preterm part was over, and his arrival will be welcomed whenever he’s ready.
If I was in the States right now I would be bouncing around to funerals, wakes, memorials, and hospitals. I would be just as cried out as I am now, but I would have been able to cry with my friends and jumping family. It is so hard to be here sometimes, yet I am also glad I don’t have to face all of it quite so head on.
Soon, my nephew will be born. I will have more energy to explore this amazing city, and posts will be a bit more normal. Now…where’s a good building to jump?