Lessons from my children… loving life

A skydiving "buddie" and Cullen -  friendship and trust

A skydiving “buddie” and Cullen – friendship and trust

It seemed like a Nanosecondblink blink blink … and is only now that I’m able to begin with the processing.

As I wrote, back on 16Jan2013, my eldest child has returned to the delight of throwing himself out of aeroplanes… shudder… but is something that parents just have to learn to live with. So, I smiled to read his early morning blog post today and loved seeing the beautiful sunrise, through his eyes, as he drove out to the Drop Zone to celebrate with old friends.

Early morning drive to the DropZone along the Southern Expressway, South Australia. 8Feb2013.

Early morning drive to the DropZone along the Southern Expressway, South Australia. 8Feb2013.

 Describing that special moment in time, Cullen wrote:

It’s what we make of them

One thing’s for sure. The sun will rise tomorrow. As my wife says, the only thing we can change is what it means to us.

Not every day – but at least sometimes – a sunrise should mean something other than another day on the hamster wheel. Something to look forward to, a chance to step above the grind.

Today a friend of mine celebrates 25 years in skydiving and I’m headed out to the dropzone to celebrate with him. That’s what today’s sunrise means.

I can celebrate catching up, again, with old friends I haven’t seen for ten years.”


I still had a smile on my face when suddenly the TV news reported that a skydiver had fallen to his death when his parachute failed to open… same drop zone, same age … everything fitted the description of my boy.

Breath deep Catherine… Breath deep Catherine… I kept playing my daughter’s wise words, of some months ago, through and through my head like a Mantra…

stay calm … breathe deeply … you’ll be told if anything is wrong…

Then the phone rang and my heart skipped a beat… so to hear the words:

“Mum, it’s Cullen… I have to keep this short… “

was like a gift from the Gods & Goddesses. He knew people would be worried, he’d lost his phone and was trusting me to be discreet in letting people know he was safe. Yes, he did know the fellow who had died, was keeping guard at the gate with other skydiving buddies to keep the media out and would be home later that night. I passed his message on with both gratitude yet sadness in my heart.

Cullen... drop zone. 8feb2013.

My prayer is that those whose dearly loved brother, father, husband, child, cousin, grandchild etc, who lost his life doing something he loved so passionately will be comforted in this knowledge.

Back skydiving and loving it... Jan 2013.

Back skydiving and loving it… Jan 2013.

It’s what helps me over-come the terrible fear that maybe the next skydiving death will be my boy. I know he has trained well, doesn’t take risks and could  lose his life crossing the road or driving a car… apart from that, who could deny some one they love so deeply the joy clearly shown on Cullen’s face on his recent return to the sport which gives them so much pleasure?   


Copyright © 2013. Catherine Ann Crout-Habel



Please click HERE to view Channel 10 Adelaide, News Video

Skydiving Drop Zone - 8 Feb 2013

Skydiving Drop Zone – 8 Feb 2013


Please click HERE to read

11 thoughts on “Lessons from my children… loving life

  1. Oh Catherine I could feel your fear! You are so right though when you say any of our loved ones could go at any time due to any accident. Life is too short to be scared of doing things you love. If only I was so brave 😉

    • Oh yes Sheryl… “Ta bron orm” (the sadness is upon me). The chappie was a visitor to that dropzone and Cullen went out to visit his close skydiving mates this afternoon… which they greatly appreciated. I was happy when he dropped in unexpectedly, to give me a big hug, on his way home…

  2. Thankyou for your “like” Silver Voice. It showed up on my email but doesn’t show your picture/ gravitar on the page. This has been happening for some time but with only your “likes” so reckon there must be a technical “glitch” somewhere … thanks again.

  3. You must have been scared out of your wits, and that ringing of the phone would have made your blood run cold. You were very brave to keep breathing and wasn’t Cullen wonderful to get in touch with you so quickly and then to drop by home with a hug for you. I think you are showing more bravery than Cullen -he plainly loves skydiving while you have to battle through your fears for his safety. A big VC for you I think!

    Much as I share your jubilation at Cullen’s safety, what a horror nightmare for the other man’s family. What they will go through doesn’t bear thinking about. I like your Gaelic for it “the sadness is upon me”. I will offer up one of my rare prayers for them. There but for the grace of God……we never do know when our turn will come.

    • You are so kind Pauleen… Thankfully it was a relatively short time between reading Cullen’s blog post, the news report and then the phone call but truly terrifying all the same 😦 Incidents, like this, sure are horrifying but a good “wake up call” to all of us I reckon.

      Oh yes… my gaelic. Truth be told it’s very scant nowadays. As they say, “If you don’t use it, you lose it” 🙂 There are still quite a few expressions that simply jump through my lips without any thinking. e.g. “Ta bron orm” floods my senses when deeply distressed… comes from somewhere else and is always a reminder to not go too deep into despair.

    • Thanks Susan. Whilst not minimising the unimaginable pain of Jeff’s loved ones, I’m also concerned about the mental health of those witnessing the event and hope they’ve all received appropriate counselling.
      I’ve always said that my children are “my greatest teachers” and this is a particularly poignant example. Appreciate your care, concern and comment more than words can say.

      • Yes it must have been quite shocking for them, and hopefully they are finding ways of coming to terms with it. Sometimes I think that those who take on these life-risking challenges are more insightful and pragmatic than we less brave mortals.

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