Your life has been like a sub-orbital flight program; a huge amount of hard work, sacrifice, and determination to get to launch day, then extreme exhilaration at the success at launch with an emotional climax as space is reached, then followed by uncertainty about whether it will crash or land safely.
Together our sub-orbital flight program started with college:
- You being one of the first women admitted to Florida Institute of Technology in Physics and Space Science coupled with a co-op program with NASA, a promising upward path. Only to find that the co-op program was canceled., so you never made it to space.
- The joy awaiting the birth of our daughter, after days of labor only to end in a stillbirth.
- The birth of our two sons is still soaring and moving higher, generating both problems and pride still on an upward trajectory.
- The entrepreneur in you spent a decade helping to build a software company, only to have it crushed by the 1987 stock market crash.
- You then recognized that nanotechnology was the next big upward path. Your time at the Penn State Nanotechnology lab taught you how to build chips layer by layer and I still have them. After graduation you were recruited by multiple companies. Your work in the clean room was impressive until you fell in your 'bunny suit,' which resulted in being laid-off as you were off shored.
- You next decided to become part of the housing boom, earning yet another degree and graduating just in time to be greeted by the housing bust and great recession.
- What was to become the final flight of our program was being diagnosed with cancer, but told it was detected so early and successfully removed that you would be fine; then finding a few short months later that instead you had a very fast growing and aggressive cancer which ended your sub-orbital flight program forever.
Your flight program was dominated by a desire to work hard, to learn from each failure, to never give up and to continue to set goals and reach them. Unsure if the recovery would be safe or a crash but still pushing the program forward in bold and brave new ways.
I promised you 41 years ago to get you into space and then on to the moon. I cannot get you to the moon, but I can you into space. Our flight program together has ended; first with your passing and now my worsening blindness. Two failed surgeries have left me with less sight then before. I will try to get you to the moon one day. But I judge our flight program a success; you have been my inspiration and I love you so. May your next flight be as bold as the first.