Emoke wanted to do something memorable and daring to raise money for North London Hospice, the place that gave her husband Andy amazing care and allowed him to pass away with his loved ones around him. Emoke decided to face her fear of heights and take part in a skydive on her husband’s 50th birthday. Here she tells us about her experience:
Why did you decide to take part in a skydive for the Hospice?
I personally received such enormous support since Andy passed away from the Hospice. When my world felt like it was spinning out of control and almost swallowed me up in whole by this utterly debilitating pain and emptiness, the Hospice caught me in mid fall and held my hand, until I could see for myself that there is a life after death worth living. I owe so much to the Hospice for that. I took on this challenge mainly as I was so grateful for everything they did for Andy when everyone else has just given up on us. They treated him with such understanding, care and thanks to them he was able to die the way he lived, with dignity. I want to express how invaluable their support was, to ensure that Andy was always treated as a person not just as a patient. Andy’s wish to die with dignity with me by his side was possible thanks to the compassionate and caring organisation that North London Hospice is.
How did you feel before taking part?
I was extremely nervous as I am petrified of heights but I thought that if I ask people to support me with their hard earned cash I needed to do something that would push me to my limits.
I chose to do it on Andy’s birthday regardless of the location, as I knew that it would give me that extra push to actually have the guts to jump.
I did not want to be a crying mess on Andy’s 50th birthday but instead I wanted to mark it somehow, celebrate his life and all that he means to us.
So I was scared, petrified and all so emotional all at once, knowing that what I was about to do is for the best cause ever and that Andy would be so very proud of me…his bonkers Bertie.
How did you feel after you had jumped?
By the time I got to jumping I was very calm. I told my instructor that I wanted to look down before jumping then he told me to let go. I was not scared or sad I was just screaming happy birthday to Andy, grinning and simply being happy for having him in my life. He was one amazing man and I was so lucky to have him in my life.
It was such a thrilling experience and I just screamed and grinned all the way down. My instructor said that I was so relaxed that at points he didn’t have to control the free fall as I did. I think that just summed up the experience.
I had a huge rush of adrenaline and I didn’t really come down to earth for days really, but at the airfield my father in law and brother waited for me who just really hugged me, telling me without words that they miss him terribly too and that they are proud of me. I am really lucky to have them in my life.
I genuinely did not expect to enjoy it. I thought I would just grit my teeth and bear it and in fact it turned out to be such a thrilling experience.
I did not think that I would ever feel like this again; alive, incredibly free and happy. It gave me such hope for the future. Andy made me promise to live and not just exist and I think this was that moment when for the first time since he died I felt that I am delivering on my promise to him.
Would you do it again?
Without a heartbeat. If someone asked to jump again there and then I would have been heading to the plane to do it again with a grin on my face.
Considering how scared I was leading up to it, I was the most surprised by how much I ended up loving it.
How did you go about raising money for your jump?
I posted on Facebook, sharing my plans, my nervous jitters leading up to it, the experience and my feelings afterwards with all the dorky photos included.
I emailed my contact list, sent text, WhatsApp msgs, updates and told people in person about it.