Husband crashed into ocean in our plane and died
by Julie Tate
First, I must start by saying that I am slightly intoxicated while writing this. My husband was a pilot, and a doctor, so I have plenty of meds to take and wine to wash it down with. This is an unhealthy "shortcut" which I plan to phase out beginning next week. He died on June 24 of this year.
My dear husband, Louis, was my best friend. It was a second marriage for each of us, and PERFECT. The happiest moments we've had are when we are together, at home, with our pets. We really just enjoyed each other's company more than anything else. I loved him so much, and felt SO VERY LOVED by him, and we were going to grow old together. That was what we both wanted.
He had always wanted to fly. As a child, in Kansas, out working in the fields, he used to stop and stare as a plane flew by overhead, wondering how amazing it would be to fly a plane.
His first marriage to his high school girlfriend lasted 22 years, and he always wanted to take flying lessons, but she "did not allow him." Didn't want to be a widow with two children.
When we met, 12 years ago, he told me about his dream of flying. That Christmas, I gave him flying lessons at a local airport - Twitchell's in Turner, Maine. He finished his training, got his pilot's license, and we eventually bought an airplane - a 1946 Stinson Voyager, a little taildragger that had quite a history. He loved this little airplane and we took many a long-distance trip in it - to Kansas, to the Emerald Coast of Florida, to Virginia, etc.
On the morning of June 24, 2012, we were sitting out our deck, having coffee together, and he told me he wanted to go flying and would I like to come with him? At first, I said yes. But then I realized all I had to do that day - housework, grocery shopping, etc. and said I would take a raincheck and promised I would go with him the next weekend.
He always told me his "itinerary." He planned to "go wash Isabella (the airplane)" first, then planned to fly over our home (which he did), and then would be flying to Scarborough to fly over his daughter's home, and then would be returning to Twitchell's Airport.
When I heard him coming later that morning, I did as I always did, took the dogs and went out on the lawn to blow kisses and wave as he circled our home. When he was done, he waved his wings at me (as he always did) to signal "goodbye" and "I will be home soon." He always called me when he landed back at Twitchell's, so when the phone rang early afternoon, I thought "there he is." I answered the phone and it was not my Louis, but a police officer from the Cape Elizabeth Police Department, phoning to tell me that my husband had had to ditch his plane in the ocean, beside the lighthouse in Cape Elizabeth. I COULD NOT BELIEVE THIS. I JUST WANTED TO KNOW HE WAS ALL RIGHT, but the officer said I should drive to Cape Elizabeth and that my husband was in the ambulance and he did not know the status at that time.
Fortunately, I got my next door neighbor to drive me, and learned from that police officer during the 45 minute ride that my husband "had not made it." We ended up driving directly to the funeral home.
When I saw him, he was all wet and I smelled his shirt, which smelled like ocean. I asked the funeral director if he had crashed in the ocean, but he said he did not know. It was later that evening, on the news, that I learned he had crashed in the ocean, that there had been hundreds of people watching, and that he had actually escaped the sinking plane, swam to the surface, and was on his way to shore.
In the crash, he hit his head very hard, so he had only a couple minutes to swim before he lost consciousness, and never regained it.
A vendor at the park walked down to the rocks and Louis had told him that he did not have anyone with him, and that he was badly hurt.
After that, he lost consciousness, and drowned.
I am lost and heartbroken and empty...