To Boldly Go ... Slowly
Starry, Starry Night

A Sad Day At Sea or Anywhere

In 2002, my sister and her husband were the first family members to visit La Luna after we bought her. Neither of them were boaters, so they came when she was on the hard in Robinhood Marine. My sister climbed up the ladder with no hesitation, was excited for us, and helped me measure the galley for storage containers. She wholly supported our lifestyle and our life choices and in 2010 my sister and her husband hosted a family going away party for EW and me before we set sail. My sister and I talked on the phone as often as possible, and she was my source of family info.

My sister died on Monday, and I just found out today. My sister and our two brothers were from my dad's first marriage. A number of years after their mom died, dad married again and I am the only child of that marriage. I am an only child with siblings who were older -- so much so that my older brother was married and a dad before I was born. Still, I am their sister.

As I got older, and particularly in my adulthood, my sister taught me how to be a sister. She taught by example. We share a dad, his work ethic, his distressingly straight hair, his sense of humor, and his love of family. She got the gardening, cooking, and housekeeping genes. We both could talk your ear off until the cows came home, but somehow shared fairly equally in our conversations. My sister taught me how to make oyster stew for Daddy, loved mom's Christmas Chex Mix, and got me hooked on Nora Roberts romance novels. Like me she was a dog lover, and like me and Mom, she saved many more recipes than she would ever use.

My sister was just the best sister. She was an awesome daughter, loving wife, outstanding mom, super aunt, and wonderful honorary grandmom. She told me that she had that bouncing baby boy's photo with her in the hospital and hoped to have more years to enjoy watching him grow. I hoped so, too.

Frankly, one of the deciding factors in our decision to sail back to the Caribbean was so that I could fly home and see my sister. When I told her that in our last good conversation, she said (in her Maine accent), "Oh, you don't have to do tha-at." Yes I did. I am so sorry not to have been there for her and her husband and son. I am so very sorry not to be able to hug our big brother. I am so sorry.

At that going away party in 2010, one of the family took me aside and said, "You know, Barb, some of us may die before you come back, and that's OK." I was frankly appalled, but knew that it was meant in kindness. Now, years later, EW and I remembered that moment, and realize that not only was it well-meant, but it was also a kind of loving forgiveness offered in advance. Since we left Maine we've lost a number of friends and one young cousin. Just over a year ago, the younger of my two brothers died. And this week we lost my sister.

It's not OK. This is when traveling hurts. I know that my family will handle everything just fine, and that they'll take care of my sister's husband and son, and our brother. But it hurts so much to be here at sea and not be there to help, hug, tell stories, make baked beans, cry together, and laugh a bit. This is part of the cruising life, and we accept it. But it hurts.

Currently we are North 17 degrees and 44.79 minutes and West 031 degrees and 13.21 minutes. We are sailing at 4.6 knots heading 270, almost exactly on course. It's a good day at sea, but there's a hole in our hearts. We are sad on La Luna.

Comments

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Phoenix of Hamble

So very sorry to read that Barbara (and EW). We're thinking of you.

Darleen Najera

So sorry to hear about your sister Barb, I can feel your hurt heart reading the post and I just want to give you a long hug. Love you bunches and continue to believe for safe travel for you and EW. Dar

Lavinia Maggs

Oh Gosh Barb - this must be so difficult for you! I'm so sorry for yor loss. Being so far away must make the feelings intensified... We can never predict when these things may happen to us in our lives - that's one of the reasons Richard and I WANTED to go cruising - one day it could be us... Life is a compromise, it would seem. We all try to make the best choices...
I'm sending you a (((hug))) and these special words I cherish from an Headstone in Ireland:
"Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal."
All our love and strength to you both. ❤️

Brian Domander

A hug here for you from someone who understands loss. It's a terrible time for you, but it will get better. That was a lovely tribute to your sister.

Ellen

So sorry to hear about your loss. Our thoughts are with you.

Chrissy Malon

I am sending you all of my best hugs. All of them. They are yours. I had a taste of grieving while at sea a few years back from when I was cruising and it was very difficult. But in looking back, the people who told me that it was ok not to have been around, meant it. They really did. You are feeling many things right now. I hope guilt is not one of them. Like you said in your post, it was a "loving forgiveness in advance". I love the way you put that and I love you both. I'll be raising a glass to you and your sister tonight.

S/V Sandy Dreams

Hugs.

Lynn

Barbara- beautifully expressed love, honesty, pain courage...hugs for you on your continued voyage.

Heidi Hansen

I'm so sorry for your loss, Barb. This was a heartfelt and heartbreaking post. You're in my thoughts and sending hugs.

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