At five years old, Diana was frozen in time with an ambiguous loss… the kind of loss where there was no closure. The U.S. government could only report that her father went missing-in-action while flying a combat mission into North Korea. There was no proof of death… his body and aircraft were never found. Diana remembered her father and his love, but now he was gone… she couldn’t go back or move forward. Too young to understand what happened, she was stuck in an unimaginable, complicated grief. The pain swept its wide path of destruction over her mother and extended family as well. When Diana asked her mother questions about her father, she was met with anger. No one talked about her father or the loss. Growing up, it was as if her father had never existed. But was he alive or dead? Diana wanted to know. Although he was physically absent, he was still psychologically present to her. It was like he was here, but he wasn’t here. She lived with constant uncertainty; waking up and going to bed with her hopes and fears for his return, her mind tortured by all the unanswered questions about her father. Diana remained passionate that her father be honored and not forgotten for his patriotism.
Fly By is a compelling story, told with honesty and some surprises in Diana’s search for peace and healing while still living with the wondering and not knowing what happened to her father. Her strength, determination and resilience are reflected in her courage to face her own pain, to mourn a loss that didn’t end, and to discover a way to reconnect to her father’s love. Diana transformed this tragedy into a tribute to her father by also making the best of her own life – moving through the grief to the healthy, happy, and productive life her father would have wanted for her. The author wrote this memoir to show others suffering from war loss and/or ambiguous loss that healing is possible. She also brings forward the importance of dealing with such grief and shows the impact such losses can have on surviving family and other close people. Diana’s successful journey of healing and tribute is informative, moving and inspiring.