I've decided to take a moment out of my crazy Thanksgiving weekend to remember someone very important in my life. I can't even believe that it's been a year since he left, but the calendar doesn't lie.
For some reason, it hasn't quite hit me that Papa is gone. Probably because I'm still in Korea and hadn't seen him for about five months prior to his death. To me, it still feels like he's not really gone. I sometimes forget and almost slip up and say something about him when I talk to my family. But I always catch myself.
But I worry that the second I step foot back in the US to stay, that's when it will hit me that things are different. And Papa is gone.
But let's not get into that now. I'd rather think about him at the beach in Florida, collecting shells. Or flying a plane. Or dancing the jitterbug at airshows. Or telling me how proud he was of me living in a foreign country by myself. Those are the things that I think about. And how I wish he was still here so that my children could have had the opportunity to have fun memories with Papa Rex, the original Papa, as my sister calls him. ^_^
He encouraged me to write and influenced my love of flying, though sadly, in the past few years I haven't had the chance to indulge that. He gave me a love for history and taught me to respect veterans as well as to learn from them.
He taught me how to fly the Canadian Queen, even though it scared me to the death the first time. He introduced me to the wonderful people in the Oklahoma Wing, that I have so many great memories with. (I'll never forget the funnel cake fights. ^^)
And he's the reason why I stayed in Korea when I thought I was almost ready to come home a year ago. I was ready to just give up when things weren't going so well, but I remembered that he was so proud that I was here, so I kept going and kept trying.
So... here's to Papa. I miss you, but I know you're in a better place.