It’s too soon, too soon to say goodbye…

Dear Amy,

The end has come around so quickly. We’ve said so much, shared so many thoughts and ridden the rollercoaster of rocky love to its final destination. Your heart may be broken, but your spirit has been strengthened, and I leave you here towards the end of 1928 where you are about to embark on the most exciting time of your life. Where you show us that against all obstacles, societal ‘rules’ and age-old divisions that we can achieve. Achievements not on paper or in our banks, but in our hearts and minds. You make firsts, you break down unbreakable barriers and open the eyes of the world to possibilities – you allow us to dream.

You will ultimately prove that life does not have to be pre-written, the world doesn’t have to revolve around pre-destined ideas, and that if you want to do something you should go out there and do it. Don’t wait your whole life to do something – you might not have your whole life.

I don’t think you are setting out to conquer the world or go down in history – I think you are doing it all because you want to. You have hit a point in life where you want to do something for yourself. Something you love, something that will make you feel alive. The years of feeling like you haven’t reached your destination, of losing your self-worth and feeling inadequate all come down to this – you just hadn’t realised your dreams.

 In our time together I’ve shared your innermost thoughts, your love, your anger, and your sadness. Do you know what I think? And, this might not be a popular thought with you. I think he loved you, in his way. I think if he could he’d tell you he was sorry. Sorry for the hurt, for the uncertainty and the heartbreak.

 In reading all of your letters, up until now we have overlooked one thing. He kept them all…

You are so special to us, Amy – the world loves you. And it has been the greatest honour to be a part of your life – you have captured my mind and taken over all of my spare minutes. I’ve been transported into your world and, if I’m honest I don’t think I can ever leave. It hurts to even try to say goodbye to you. You have touched my life in a way that I never thought possible from somebody I have never met.

You have wandered through my dreams, filled up my daytimes and become a part of my life. A distant friend, a pen pal, a traveller.

So it isn’t goodbye forever, it’s just a door closing on this chapter of your life. I can’t even begin to tell you how exciting the next chapter of your life is Amy. And I cannot dare to tread further, into the future…but that’s not my story to tell.

And so I bid you farewell until we meet again. Farewell to the lady who has shown against all the odds that we should try and achieve whatever we set our hearts on.

 To your courage, bravery, and absolute stubborn-minded spirit.

 Goodbye, Amy. Fly safely. It’s been topping.

“I’m always happiest in my dreams.”[1]

A Life In Pictures

[1] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 20 November 1925

How am I supposed to live without you?

‘Amy threw herself on her bed and, between Amy’s wrenching sobs, Winifred extracted the reason why Hans had been so anxious to see her. Hans had married on 14 July 1928 at St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Hull.’[1]

There it is. Rock bottom. The end of the precariously unpredictable, hazardous slope you’ve been sliding down for the last few months. And it couldn’t have ended any worse for you than this. The one thing that you thought he would never do. He wasn’t the ‘marrying kind’.

 ‘Hans may or may not have chosen to tell Amy about the most devastating aspect of his marriage: that his new wife was pregnant.’[2]

Now, the truth weighs you down with a huge cloud of devastation, disbelief and heartbreak. I’m so sorry, Amy. My heart aches with your sadness and my tears fall for the irreparable damage in your heart as you mourn the death of your relationship.

Don’t let this knock you down, Amy. You will rise above it, you know. You will use the anger and hurt you feel to achieve the greatest things you never thought possible.

“Best of luck in whatever you decide to do with the rest of your life – I hope you have lots more happiness and success to come in the future. Let me know if chance you’re in town.”[3]

You will go out into the world and show everyone that you can change it. You want to fly, remember? You really want to fly.

Amy Johnson letters used with kind permission of Hull Local Studies Library, Hull History Centre


8 secrets of getting over a hurtful breakup:

[1] Gillies, Queen of the Air, 61

[2] Gillies, Queen of the Air, 62

[3] Johnson, communication with Arregger [Letter]. 1928