In those kind of moment you learn what true friendship means. Very quickly we verified people. Those who we thought are close to us disappeared, and we cannot really even say why. Weather they thought this is contagious, and they can also be classified for that flight too, overwhelmed and did not know how to behave, or simply we did not fit to their image of perfect hedonistic life, where you keep close to yourself only those who makes your world look perfect. On the other hand people, who we never expected to get any empathy from would call us, write, suddenly appear in our life, and without even asking started to help. They knew, that they are far from understanding us, and I would never wish them too, but they fought back the thought of it, and were always with us when needed. I am not saying that we were completely left out by our old friends, just that number of them shrank. Thanks to that experience we now know who we can really depend on.
And there was a third group, other parents. People who shared your experience, suffering, and could really quickly find themselves in your shoes. Understand well what you are currently going thorough, your frustration, sorrow, crises, as this was also in their hearts. They might have already experienced what you are currently facing and moved to the next stage or you shared your tears with them as they were also just informed about qualification.
We stayed in the room where there was at least one more cadet and alongside of him, his parent, in most cases it was his mother. Laying on cheap mattress or touristic bed, comforting him, and trying to lower his pain and suffering as much as she could. Rooms where tiny, which lead to the situations where there was no other way but to open your mouth and start to talk to each other. Especially that during those night where your cades could not sleep because of pain, and you often needed to change either his diapers or bed sheets, you could count on the other parents to look over your child.
Spending sometimes days or weeks with the same parents created this strange connection. The bondage of common goal, do all in your power to get your kid off the training course. And you know that on the other side of the barricade are captains doing all to make sure your child will perform well. Of course there were cases when frustration was so high that created some tension between parents but those were very rare occasions. In general everybody tried to help each other as much as they could, knowing that someday it could be his turn to ask.
“Don’t trust anybody.” Mag started. “Look at each drug they are giving to your child, check the label, check the name and make sure they did not mix anything.” She lowered her voice a bit. “I already witnessed a case where they had two cadets with similar names and they massed up the drugs. Giving the wrong one to the wrong cadet. Luckily they quickly realized so no harm done but you can imagine what could have potentially happen. I am not sure if this is done on purpose, like the other day they tried to force faster training, not fit for the cadets, hoping he will make the flight sooner than normally. I don’t think these are just strange coincidental mistakes.” Mag paused for a second. “But like I have said. Don’t trust anybody and double check everything.”
We were already full of fear and this just enhanced it. I started to take picture of the drugs, check the names in the internet. I tried to see if this chemo will really improve his performance or on the contrary – rash the hole process and fly him to heaven sooner than initially said.
Luckily we had also moments when we talk about other things, not related to the training, which gave us a bit of relief from that constant standby mode. Amelia was full of energy and watching her play was also uplifting. Szymon was also in much better state, which started to fill us with optimism. Maybe it doesn’t have to be like captains say. Maybe he will not make the cut.