Darian on a tandem sky dive jump. The plane is directly above Darian and her partner and they are in free fall. The caption is a quote from Helen Keller: Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.

Facing My Fear and Skydiving Anyway

What happened the day I literally jumped blind.

My husband, John, is a skydiver–the first we know of who is blind. He has 1,938 jumps with over 1,200 of them since he lost his sight.

John has never insisted that I try skydiving, and I was pretty sure I would never be crazy enough to try. Then, one weekend we went to a skydiving boogie in Pacific City on the Northern Oregon Coast. The ocean is my all-time favorite place. So the morning of the boogie, I surprised him. I said that, that since I love the beach so much, if I was going to experience skydiving anywhere, I wanted to do it over the ocean. He asked me if I was serious, and despite my trepidation, I said yes.

John discussed my request with our friends who offered their plane. They introduced him to the best tandem masters in attendance at the event. John introduced me to Rick, who was very experienced and confident; plus, he had jumped with other people who had disabilities.

Then the fun began. Rick explained how the dive was going to work and what I needed to do. The next thing I knew I was boarding the plane. When the time came to exit, I put my feet out on the step, as I was told, but I froze. Now what was I supposed to do? Throw myself out? Catapult? Stand up and jump?

Image of Darian about to jump out of airplane

Rick took over and suddenly I found myself hurtling through the air.

Image of Darian and Rick right after they jumped out of the airplane. The plane is just above them and they are in free fall.

Free-fall was very intense. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at once. It took my breath away. I think I was so intent on not freaking out that I never screamed or anything.

Image of Darian and Rick skydiving, the land is far beneath them.

Rick talked to me, telling me to wave at the video camera. I forgot all of the instructions about what to do with my legs and feet. I lay in the air waiting to see what would happen next and wondering when next would be. It seemed we were in free-fall forever.

Image of Rick and Darian's skydive, Darian is waving at the camera.

Then we flipped over and I was face up, practically sitting in the air. Rick showed me how to use the steering toggles and directed me. We were flying. It was so peaceful and quiet. I could see the ocean and Haystack Rock. I wanted to stay up there.

Image of Rick and Darian skydiving, they are just about to land on a beach

As we dropped, Rick told me we were fifty feet from the ground. I forgot to put my legs straight out in front of me, so my right foot hit first, and hard. I felt my foot twist.

I was on the ground and still feeling shell-shocked and exhilarated. As my friends and husband hugged me (that’s him in the cap with flames on it), I was shaking like a leaf.

Image of Darian's friends around her congratulating her on her jump

I’ve always dared to try new things just because I probably shouldn’t. In my husband’s arms, I knew I was safe, in my favorite place, and proud of my accomplishment. My skydive was terrifyingly thrilling!