I can play it back in my mind like I was a spectator there. I was sitting on the couch in the east wing when I noticed Adam come back into the hangar and open up manifest. I didn’t think much of it. He was on the phone and I figured he just forgot something. He came into the east wing at some point and asked me if I could help him with something. I got up and made a comment – as long as it doesn’t involve any heavy lifting. Adam commented back that it might. And I commented back that I might be able to do it, but I wouldn’t trust me. I was on my third drink.
Earlier that day me and Margo got in her truck to drive up to PST. She had asked who wanted to drive and I told her I’d prefer if she’d drive that day. We almost weren’t going to go, but half way there we were both happy to be on our way. I left my computer at home and I hadn’t texted Dave yet. Every day I woke up and texted him as soon as possible. I would wake up and sit straight up in bed and the first thought would be – Dave! I missed him so much. But he had booked his ticket and would be home in five days. We had spoke on the phone the day before and I had sent him a facebook message the night before, and poked him. We had a bit of a poking war. But that Thursday, June 10, I had decided to test myself and see if I could resist texting Dave. I wanted to try and have one day where not every thought in my head, and every decision I made, revolved around my and Dave’s life together. I wanted to think more like a man (sorry) in the sense that I made decisions about my life and for my better interest. Maybe it’s not a man-thing. Maybe that is a people-thing. I may have a lot to learn in that aspect, but when I decided to do anything, I generally thought about how it would fit in with Dave as well. So that morning i didn’t text Dave at all. The whole drive up. The whole afternoon at the DZ. Nothing. I remember on the drive up telling Margaret that I wasn’t going to text him. I was going to let him sweat it out. That I was trying to resist the temptation. I remember telling her how much I love him and that I was going to be someone’s wife and I didn’t know how I felt about that yet. I remember telling her that I held back from Dave, that I was waiting until we were face-to-face to tell him some of the things I was keeping from him. I remember a lot.
I told people that day that Dave was coming home on the coming Tuesday. I felt like I betrayed him. I knew he wanted it to be a surprise if possible, but I was getting tired of people asking me when he was coming home. I had told Dave about this and I recall him saying that I now had a date to tell people when he was coming home. But still, I know he wanted the surprise, and I felt kind of guilty. The moment I said anything I felt like I had broken some spell. I told Adam that when Dave was coming back he wasn’t going to be staying at PST, that he was moving in with me and coming to work at Burnaby. That was after he had died, but we didn’t know yet. I took pictures that day. I think Dave had asked me to. They are still on my camera. I can’t upload them yet.
Around 6 p.m. I gave in and texted Dave. I sent him about four texts within 15 minutes. I think the first one went through at 5:58 p.m. I tried phoning him. He wasn’t picking up and I got worried. Rick saw my expression and asked. I swallowed my worries. I was always worried. I always thought the worst, I don’t know why. But I told Rick that maybe he was just working or left his phone behind – he’s probably out ground launching. But I’ll never know exactly. Dave died sometime around 3 p.m. in California. We have a three hour time difference, so it would’ve been around 6 p.m. He never opened any of my messages, they’re still there on his phone, unopened. And he had it with him. I think he may have already been dead or just ignoring it, moments before the wind took him into the mountain.
Adam guided me outside and I thought we were heading to the rigging room. He shut the hangar door and turned around and looked at me. I was happy. I was at PST. I was drinking. Dave was coming home in five days. Everyone was at dinner, but they’d be back soon to party with us. The world was fine. Adam told me that Kyle called and that Dave had been in an accident. The flurry of things that went through my head – low turn, canopy collision, ground launching, drunken shenanigans. I thought, dammit, he’s gone and broken his legs like I told him not to. Then I noticed that Adam wasn’t saying anything else. He was just looking at me. In disbelief I asked He’s not dead is he? And Adam nodded his head and said that he is. I collapsed on the ground, crying instantly, wailing, saying no no no no no and repeating this isn’t real. In a flash my life was over. Dave was gone. Dave is gone. It still hasn’t registered. That was around 9 or 10 p.m. that I found out. I didn’t sleep a wink that night, and I’ve hardly slept since. Everyone came straight back from dinner. We cried until 3 a.m. when fatigue took most of us.
When I got home the next day I immediately went to my computer. Dave had poked me back. And he had left me a message. It was the last thing he ever said to me. It was short and sweet – he hated typing on that phone. But I know from that message that he couldn’t wait to get home. I know he loved me. I just really wish I would’ve phoned him that day. I really wish I got to tell him I loved him one more time. But I really wish that day never happened.