PILOTE.US - Journal d'un pilote francais aux Etats-Unis


Mon histoire

A pilot's wife

J’ai recopié ça du journal de ma femme.

So what’s it like to be the wife of an airline pilot ? Danny has this blog, a journal about being a pilot. Someone suggested I write about being the wife of a pilot. Danny’s not just any pilot, though.

For some pilots, flying is just a badge, as shiny as their ego. For Danny, flying is in his blood, he could care less who sees him doing it (although, personally, I bet it feels a bit good to have all those people who said he’d never make it as a pilot see that he has).

Well, being a wife of a pilot means being comfortable being alone, whether for a couple of days, a week, or a month (during training). It means getting excited when he calls to chat or say he’ll be home in an hour. It also means getting excited sometimes - sometimes - when he has to leave again.

Okay, excited is not the right word to describe how I feel when he leaves. Usually, I feel like I’m really going to miss him. But sometimes - sometimes - there’s a residual tension between us following an argument and it’s a relief to have the tension gone when he leaves. Time passes, we both realize our faults and how lucky we both feel to have each other. Then once again, I’m excited to have his phone call.

Being the wife of a pilot means letting go… letting go of the worry about his safety, worry about job security, worry about those perky flight attendants that don’t care that he’s married, worry about doing a good enough job raising our children solo at times, worry about shifts in routine, worry about how to ease and get his mind off of his worries… worries that are sure to be taking years off of his life.

I can’t think about his safety… or at least I don’t dwell on it. He’s a sharp pilot with keen instincts. And he doesn’t cloud or contaminate his senses with alcohol, cigarettes, or coffee (I’m not saying he’s never had those things, but they are not part of his lifestyle). Anyways, who needs that stuff when you have jet fuel coursing through your veins ? !

His job includes catching other people’s mistakes--mistakes with potentially fatal results. Danny tells me so many stories of close-calls, near-misses, and moments when there-are-no-words, just respectful silence while we look at each other, thankful for another moment together.

I want to know. I don’t dwell on it, but I want to know. I’ve jokingly asked Danny, "So, how close did I become a widow this time?" or "Did you almost die today?" Danny needs to talk about it, I want to listen. That’s part of marriage no matter what profession : let each other talk about their day--don’t try to fix their day, just let each other talk about it.

I’m saying this because a couple of times I’ve heard wives of pilots say, "I don’t want to know ! Don’t talk about it." One wife of a pilot at Danny’s previous company even went so far as to give an ultimatum, "Leave the pilot business or I’ll divorce you… I’m so afraid of losing you to an accident." Fear of losing her husband consumed her--she "loved" him so much. He was a pilot when they met… no surprises.

She dwelled on it so much that she divorced him so she wouldn’t have to face the pain of losing him to death. Yet, she’d rather lose him to divorce. In all fairness, I haven’t heard her side of the story. I personally think there’s more to the story. There has to be; it makes no sense. I digress.

Danny could be a librarian instead of a pilot, yet die on his way to work. You never know. Why waste your time dwelling on it. I don’t ignore the possibility of losing him; that helps me prepare for the future : what job will I have and what updated education will I need for that ? Would we move ? Are the papers in my name, too ? How’s his insurance ? Do I have enough for funeral arrangements ? Maybe it’s a little grim, but if you are at least somewhat prepared for the future, you can enjoy the present. Danny has to think about my death, too.

I actually feel better about Danny flying a plane than being on the road… crazy drivers out there.