Hello Friends

Hello Everyone…

I don’t know how to start. To be honest, I don’t really know that I’m ready to start. Rather than stringing it out, I’ll just get to the point of it. I’m sure most of you guessed that things went terribly wrong in my life about a year and a half ago. I’m not super-ready to talk about much of it yet, but the end result is that my life and that of my family have been turned upside down. I was separated for the legally required period (one year) and my divorce became official earlier this month on August 1. One of my favorite books, “Chickenhawk” by Robert Mason, ends with the statement, after the author’s life comes crumbling down - “No one is more shocked than I…”

Since April of last year, I’ve found the darkest of places as I’ve struggled, and watched my family grapple with our new reality. Telling the boys in October of last year was the worst day of my life. Each day continues to be a nightmare of loss and sadness in my own head. My profession is not very accepting of mental health challenges - so, I describe myself as being sad. Very sad. The distractions of my personal life have made work hard, but I’m grateful that I have a good job that I’m fairly competent at.

Computers and flight simulation went to the back-burner. I have struggled to find meaning in all things in my life and I am thankful for my boys, who have unknowingly kept me centered enough to get through each day. I never realized just how alone I am, and how I built a life that was devoid of close friendships that I feel most people have. I don’t have drinking buddies, I don’t have friends in the neighborhood. I had my wife, who I’ve known for twenty-six years, as my partner and friend in life - and that is no longer the case. I don’t want to get specific about the causes of our collapse - it is simple and complicated all at once. I did not want to get divorced - I still do not want to be divorced, but it is not my decision to make.

So, I’m not sure where I am right now. I’m about as rudderless as I’ve been in my life. I’ve always had goals…mountains to climb, an Ironman to train for, a hobby to pursue. Right now, I’m 100% focused on my kids and spending as much time as I can with them and trying to salvage the good parts. I have a lot to be grateful for, but the loss I feel is tremendous and crushes me anew each morning.

I apologize for disappearing. I apologize for leaving Fearless and Troll and Fridge wondering. They have kept the lights on here through their hard work and have taken the site in the directions they felt were appropriate. I have not looked in. I have been completely absent, but I know I’m reaching a point where I need some friends and I need to start putting some pieces back together. I am sorry that I missed participating in your lives…for so many years I was part of this online family and I’m sorry for not being there for your triumphs and tragedies. I have not been a good friend but I’m trying to relearn things in many different aspects in life.

I have work to do. I have visited to the top of Maslow’s pyramid…but the sides are very steep…very slippery. Hang on for dear life…the ride back down is not pleasant.

Wishing peace for all of you.



Chris…so glad to hear from you, but so sorry to hear of your situation. Just know that you do have real friends here that you can lean on… we are here for you.


Having known you virtually for well over a decade I knew in my heart that there had to be a catastrophic life event that caused your extended absence. I am deeply saddened to hear that my surmise was correct but know that you have been deeply missed by all your friends here at Mudspike. I do hope that you let us help you heal via forum posts and or private messages since trying to go through this without any support is the worst kind of hell. Been through it with too many friends over the past twenty years and know that being told to get over it and man up ain’t all it cracked up to be.



So glad to hear from you Chris.

This post hurt because i have lived it. It sucks. But you have friends here. Depression aint no joke man, dont bottle it up. I did and i cost me. I was lucky enough to find someone to help me out of the pit.

It get better as the days past but will always be with you.

Keep your kids close.

And remember your Mudspike family is a mouse click away.


That’s important. I’ve been there too.

Not necessary. And the place is in good hands.

FWIW, I used to fall back on these [not mine] words, when things were crushing me, “Must press on”.


So sorry to hear Chris. Glad you have the boys to focus on. And you do have friends here. Reach out. It will help more than you know.

Take care bud!



I can’t say I know what you are going through but I can say each day you have breath is another day of hope and an opportunity for better days. Last August I survived a stroke and the road to recovery has been bumpy. Along the way, I’ve suffered the losses of my father, my precious pet companion, and some kin. I’m also dealing with some health issues that sidelined my career as an educator. I’m not going to get into details but will say, life has not been the same and I find some days are harder than others. Still, I tell people that every day we are alive is a blessing.

Spending time with your boys is definitely the right move. Believe me when I tell you they will cherish every moment. I remember when my eldest son shared a memory with me about our Dunkin Donuts bonding time. I used to take his brother and him to get donuts and chocolate milk. We would sit, enjoy, and just talk about random stuff, I can’t even recall what we talked about but my son said he remembered the experiences like they were yesterday. My kids are the glue that keeps me together. I know your boys are young but they will in time become men and will continue to be your foundation.

There’s an expression, “Time heals all wounds.” I don’t quite agree with it but I believe time helps us get better at coping. Hang in there and think of each day as an opportunity and a blessing.

I believe in God and prayer so I say keep the faith. I know everyone may not believe in God (My children were raised in the church but my youngest son is now agnostic) but I had to share.

Hills and valleys, fire and ice… You’re being tempered and you’ll come out of this stronger in the end. You also have this amazing community for support.



Your concern that you haven’t been a good friend is appreciated, but you don’t have to worry. Sometimes in life we have to step away to concentrate on what’s in front of us, that doesn’t mean you’ve gotten off the bus entirely. We’ve been saving your seat and waiting for you to get back. While we all wish you’d come back with happier news, the fact that it’s not doesn’t change our opinion of you at all.

I know you feel that you don’t have any close friends. I think most of the MS crowd would certainly consider you a good, valued friend, who just happens to be a virtual pen pal that we haven’t had the luck to meet in person yet. I know I do.

This incredible place that you started has given many of us a place to heal and grow. Now it’s our turn to return the favor.


Well, leave it to me to take this selfishly. I am in a hotel room in Munich and it is 0349. What do I do when I can’t sleep? I open up Mudspike usually. Posts with @BeachAV8R’s avatar pop up from time to time when resurrected by another Mudspiker. My heart skips a beat but then, seconds later, it breaks again when I realize that this was just him back in 2021. I am waiting for that sad realization now. Waiting. Waiting. But my heart is still intact!

Is it wrong for me to be happy when that happiness finds its source in someone who is still suffering so much?

I hope not.

The natural world—by which I mean my flight sim world—was turned upside down when you left. We’re all fans. But you gave a deeply literate voice to our fandom. Through your always thoughtful, never hateful, commentaries at SimHQ, your sometimes brilliant writing at PC Pilot, and then this, a place where we all can share that love with you, our best voice, we have a home.

You never left. If you frequented the site in the last year you will have noticed that the the culture you worked hard to instill is intact still. That is due to great moderation for sure. But I believe it is also due to a community and a culture you have incubated over 20 plus years. It survived your absence. So you needn’t worry about Mudspike or us, your distant digital friends who love you. Yes, I am using that word. It has other sticky connotations. But nothing else in this, the only language I know, applies.

I am selfishly happy. Selfishly thrilled. But that’s me. Mudspike and this weird little hobby are unimportant in the gravity of family and mental health. We’ve never met. We may never meet. But I love you Chris. (Shut up butt-holes! You know what I mean.) No amount of well-wishing or encouragement can ease the trauma suffered by you and your beautiful family. I feel your pain. But I also feel joy. And I cannot apologize for that.

PS. Best not to keep posting when others should have the space to express themselves. But I do want to acknowledge @komemiute, @Chuck_Owl and others and the recent life events they have recounted below. Things were hinted at in the mental health thread, but it took your open honesty here to illuminate it more fully. I am still not taking back the honest joy that inspired the paragraphs above. But pain is pain. And I hate that my friends have suffered so much of it.



I’m heartbroken for you. Deeply saddened to hear of your loss (that’s what it is), and the pain you and your family are enduring. I hope that time, and the love your children have for you and you for them will eventually heal your wounds. Will be keeping you and yours in prayer.

It’s good to hear from you, and it’s good to have you back. We missed you, our friend founder and fearless leader. Most importantly, there’s no need for apologies. We all have times in our lives where we have to step back from things and reassess our priorities. I admire you for doing so. You certainly don’t owe us anything, especially considering the amazing amount of time, effort and dedication you’ve obviously put into making Mudspike the incredible, welcoming and friendly community it is today. Thank you, and thank you for letting us know you’re around.


So sorry to hear of your situation. You have nothing to apologise for.

This is your place you’ve built, which is full of friends.

Take care of yourself.


I am both overwhelmingly happy to hear from you Chris and awfully and terribly sad to know that you are suffering.
You say you have no drinking buddies or shoulder to lean on but the wonderful community you helped build and maintain over the years, cares deeply about you and your well-being.
There is not a week goes by that one of us expressed that you and yours are ok, we werent bothered about the reasons, that part isnt important. We wanted YOU to be ok. To pop in after all this time is a massive relief to people who absolutely love you and appreciate you and your massive contributions to not just our weird little hobby, but our actual lives and our own wellbeing.

The community here at Mudspike, the rules we follow and the way we all strive to conduct ourselves and the happiness and light it brings us is all because of you and the special people you chose to manage it for you, @Troll, @Fridge @fearlessfrog. We all appreciate the efforts they make. The health of this amazing place is not just down to their work but because we all want the same thing for the most part. We want to keep this place safe and we want to make you proud of us and yourself for building it all.

We all admire you, the work you do and the life you built for you and your family. Just because circumstances have changed, I’m deeply sorry for that, truly. It doesn’t mean that your value has changed to your friends. You are loved dude.

Welcome back to Mudspike. We have lots to tell you and ears to listen and shoulders to cry on.



Chris my man, I’m heartbroken for your loss. I can’t imagine the grief and disjointment you’re going through.

On the other hand, I’m elated that it’s not something worse. Being in the dark about what had overcome you, my fantasy went to some grim places. Bad as this is, it’s not the worst.

You are alive. Your boys are in your life. You still fly. You seem to be unbroken enough to still function. I foresee you getting out of this pit.

In due time. Because you have been sharply amputated. And I’m so, so sorry for your loss. We’re here for you. To commiserate, for you to lean on, to find laughing matters again and perhaps to find escape.

One thing though, wouldn’t it be better tk take this, and this part of your and our process to a closed off part of the site?


I’m so happy to see that you have reached the point where you feel you can share your struggles! That means you’re on your way up.
Also, as we move through life, we all become preoccupied with our many daily tasks. Maybe we move away and we focus on family and careers. Sadly, we lose contact with a lot of our childhood friends because of this. Happens to most of us.
Someone said that friends are the family you chose, so that makes us family too. We’re no less real just because we’re scattered all over the planet and haven’t met in person. Just wanted to be clear on that. Know that we are here.

I know what Eric means when he talks about love. He’s a fixed wing pilot, building a helicopter, so I’m not 100% sure about him, but he’s absolutely right about that. :wink:

And there’s no need to apologize for…anything.
I will bring it up in our next moderators salary negotiations, though. (Or not, depending on your mood when you look through the forum and see what we’ve done to the place :grimacing:)

Seriously though… Good to see you! :heart:


I am so happy to have you back but absolutely gutted to hear about your health. I cannot imagine the burden of having to keep this in… Terribly sad situation. Please don’t feel sorry, we all want you to be happy. “I hope BeachAV8R is OK” has been read and heard a lot.

Normally I write long comments but I now find myself crying and at a loss for words. Luckily @smokinhole said it all.

I love you Chris!

Best Friends Love GIF by Kennysgifs


Hi Beach

Most has been said better than I would be able to say it.

Thanks for popping the cork on this, bet it wasn‘t easy to go there. Appreciated!

You seem to be moving, so even if you feel rudderless, there must be some control coming back, slowly.

We‘re here and will be, always. No need to rush. Just keep swimming :tropical_fish:


Oh Chris, I am so sorry.


Beach!!! You Da Man!!!

You have many,many friends here who care very much about You.
I feel you are doing the right thing…Your Boy’s Need You…Keep Focusing on them and stay positive…take small steeps and find the little things in Life that make You Happy…You can reach out to any of us here if you’d like to talk,and if you don’t want to…that ok too!!

You Will Get Out of This…take your time and don’t push yourself too hard.
It’s so Great to Hear from You Brother!!!


Good luck to you, Beach! Ever since you posted the article on Unsung Chickenhawk mission I came back to this site here and enjoy it tremendously. You all built something great here in mudspike!

On the difficulties your facing, what I found working is to focus on the present, in the most extreme case on the next minute or even breathe, if need be. The past is gone and cannot be changed, no matter how pleasant or bad it was. The future is unknown and can bring a surprise or two that are completely outside of your own control. So if in a somewhat uncertain situation I found it useful to focus on the (often trivial) next thing to do right now, instead over pondering the past or contemplating what the future might hold.

I don’t mean it in the self-reflecting and somewhat life enhancing means of some coaches/gurus, I mean it very practical and down-to-earth.

Good luck!


Hey Chris,

First, I’m glad to hear some news from you. It’s a very strange coincidence that I have gone through a very similar thing in roughly the same time frame. I had no kids in the equation, but let’s just say it was the most excruciating thing I’ve ever experienced and I really get what you’re going through. It’s a part of life where you go through the darkest pits of the seventh ring of hell just to get through the day. People keep telling you it will get better, and for some time it doesn’t… yet, it eventually does somehow.

If you ever thought you were going through a phase of “Kirk-Van-Houten-Sleeping-In-a-Racing-Car”, I’ve been there. Took me a while to see the funny side of it, but I now laugh about it and it all feels like a distant memory. So will you.

Being rudderless and lacking purpose is part of the process… Believe me, you’ll find that will and that drive again with twice the energy you ever had. It’s important to talk about things and accept that there will be a “new you” that you will be building up every day. The person I was 1-2 years ago vs the person I am now are like night and day… and you’ll have a hard time understanding how you’ve changed so much too. It will be for the better. What helped me the most was finding a new love for cycling, running and rock climbing. It turned so many things around. It helped me focus. It gave me time to blow steam off. It made me meet new, interesting people. It changed my life.

Don’t apologize for disappearing; the healing process is the thing that matters most. As you can read already, we’ll always be there for you no matter what. We’re all rooting for you. I was wondering what had happened to you for the longest time, and on one hand I’m glad to have some news, while on the flip side I’m also saddened to hear what you’ve gone through.

Stay strong, friend. We all love you like family (insert Fast & Furious meme here), and you’ll always find a willing ear for you in here. Don’t think for a single moment that we’ve thought you were a bad friend… anyone who’s been in your proverbial slippers once would’ve done the same thing, knowing it’s the right call.

If you ever happen to travel in Montreal, let me know. Beer is on me.