I’ve always wanted to go skydiving. While I’m frantic in 5 feet of water, I’m pretty sure I was a bird in a past life. A timid one, but a bird nevertheless. I once had a dream that I went skydiving. I was scared the entire time, and just as I was about to board the plane I woke up. I took it as a sign to hold off.
Then, I booked a trip to Kauai last year and saw a picture of my friends 60+ year old father with a knee brace skydiving tandem to one of the most handsome men I’ve ever seen, and decided it was time. If he can do it, I can do it I thought.
I remember arriving at Skydive Kauai unshowered with no makeup on, a pimple on my chin, and nappy ocean hair hoping Mr. Beautiful wouldn’t be my instructor. Of course he was my instructor. During the plane ride up he asked me how I was feeling, and I told him “I want pancakes”. *Insert face palm felt around the world* I wasn’t nervous, and not being nervous made me slightly nervous. But I figured if the last thing I ever saw was this beautiful island, it wouldn’t be so bad.
I wonder if that’s what Wayne Rose, my instructor that day was thinking this past Sunday when he hopped into the Skydive Hawaii cessna plane for the last time. My roommate sent me a link to a news article about a skydiving incident in Kauai, and I immediately knew it was Skydive Kauai. It didn’t take long for me to find out more details regarding the horrible incident, and during my search I also found the following excerpt written by Wayne’s twin sister:
Please take a minute today to tell your family and friends you love them. Never take one second of this precious life for granted. Quit the terrible job you complain about every Monday (that’s what Wayne did). Move to the city or state you’ve always wanted to live in (Wayne did that). Go on that adventure you’ve always dreamed of (Wayne did that, too). Put yourself out there, meet someone, and don’t hold back from falling head over heels in love. Live out your storybook romance despite all the odds against you (yep, that happened, too)
I remember walking over to tip Wayne that day before I left thinking, you must really love doing this because I know they don’t pay you shit. I handed him the money and said, “Thanks for not letting me die”. What I should’ve said was, “Thanks for letting me live”. Thank you for living a life worthy of dying for, and being an inspiration for me to do the same.
And for the record, I will never eat pancakes the same way again.