*WARNING: This gets a little soppy. It's mostly to be read in the event of my death, please*
So, after months of waiting, my skydive is now upon us. I think most people who know me will be breathing a sigh of relief, given how much I have banged on about it, pestering for sponsorship, making jokes about my imminent tragic death and so on. All day people have asked me if I am nervous, and told me I must be mad, and "just imagine that feeling of sitting at the open door and looking down" and I have just thought SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP. I realise that everyone means well, but frankly, I don't want to hear it. Also - those of you who joked about bouncing if the parachute failed, or to 'break a leg' (oh ha ha ha ha), just imagine how you'll feel if something tragic does happen, and that's the last thing you've said to me. Just imagine.
It has become a strange tradition in our family that I phone everyone before getting on a flight, especially a long haul one, in case I don't come back. That way I get to tell them I love them and that would have been our last conversation. I say 'strange' as we're not a family that dwells much on death. I'm not sure what my parents want for their funerals, for example. Maybe it's because I have been raised with no faith (GODLESS as one awful Brownie leader once called me), it means that I have always believed that when you die, that's it. No glorious light to walk towards, no Heaven to reward me for all my good deeds, nor any Hell to punish me for my awful, blasphemous thoughts and actions. Nope, just the end of electrical impulses going through my heart, the slowing down of my breathing, the switching off of my wondrous, glorious brain (that's not me being cocky - I think the human brain is one of the most astounding things ever created).
So I spoke to both of my parents tonight, and my sister. I didn't call the brothers, and that's not because I love them any less, but I do speak to them less, so they would find it really weird if I suddenly called them out of the blue. I talked to my sister about her job, my job, Edinburgh Festival. I talked to my Dad about his cat, his nerd test result (Geek Lord, as if we didn't know already) and the Bank Holiday weekend plans. And then I talked to Ma. As always, the most emotional of the family (probably equally tied with me in terms of tears spilled generally, both of sadness and of joy), she gave me a lump in my throat saying how proud she was of me, how I was always in her heart, how she had loved me for every second since the moment I was born.
I have never doubted this. I know exactly how lucky I am to have such a supportive and loving family, no matter how much the craziness and the shouting and the arguing annoys me at times. I have never wondered whether they would be there for me, and I try not to take that for granted. I also have a network of lovely, lovely friends, some of whom now live a long way from me geographically, but remain in my life because they're so damn brilliant. I try to remember this as well, whenever my day gets crappy and the petty things build up. We've all had our moments - those days where nothing seems to go to plan, and you just have to take a step back and appreciate what you DO have.
So, just so you all know, I want to be cremated at Mourn Hill in Winchester. If possible, I would like to have my ashes scattered off Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, preferably on a sunny day (not likely in Bristol, to be fair), and if I could blow back into the faces of a few random people who happen to be passing by at the time, that would at least give you all a smile.
I have a great life, and I am very lucky. I love you all.