Shared from my sisters blog. Please follow her and read about their adventures as they cross the sea on their sail boat.
When does spring arrive in Gaspé anyway? We thought the middle of June was a safe bet, but last night, the temperature dropped to five degrees, and this morning it’s cold and rainy and wind is howling through the rigging.
A week ago we were sitting on the deck of our other boat, Meadowlark, on our farm north of Durham, sipping coffee and watching a pair of bluebirds tending their young. They take turns bringing tasty (I can only assume) bugs and juicy-looking caterpillars to the nesting box. Bluebird TV. We could watch it all day. Shorts. We were wearing shorts. I’m sure of it.
Today we’re wearing jeans and T-shirts and thick fleecies as we huddle by the little woodburning stove on MonArk, which is still on the hard in the boatyard in Gaspé. There are still a couple of critical repairs to make, and we are waiting for our…
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Yesterday my second oldest sister and her heart twin left for another adventure at sea.
These sailors were the ones who scooped me up in Idaho Falls when my own heart twin died. Linda held me and let me fall apart, tempted me with bits of food and things to drink, helped me decide what to wear when I was unable to even look at the clothes Warren and I had bought on vacation. Chris took on the practical and necessary as well as comforting a broken sister-in-law: dealing with the funeral home, packing the truck, dealing with the hotel. They both made me walk (‘Walking is life’ I hear Warren say), and listened to me talk, and encouraged me to cry when the grief was still so acute.
Sailors are the best people to have around when things go wrong. Although they always have a plan – I mean, it would be silly to hop on a boat without planning the food and water and route – they are prepared to change direction at any moment. I guess that’s what happens when you agree to live a life that is based, literally, on where the wind takes you.
I spent a week or so up at the cabin with Linda and Chris, just hanging out and healing. Although things are getting… better? I have a finite capacity to be sociable – interacting with people is exhausting right now. Linda has a warm and generous heart and let me just be in silence or chatter on when I needed to. Chris, a quiet man, also has a warm and generous heart. He listens to my endless chatter, always with an interesting perspective and often excellent advice: ‘You have a million tears to shed for Warren,’ Chris told me when we were in Idaho Falls, ‘that’s your job right now. You need to get at it’. And I did.
I arrived to pick them up yesterday around 11:30 and take them to the hotel in Toronto where they would spend their last night as land lubbers before a ridiculously early flight to Quebec. They were zipping around attending to final details at the house, packing and discussing what needed to be done. They were excited and happy to be on their way to their next adventure together and the love they have for each other was clearly evident. It made me think of when Warren and I were waiting impatiently for him to finish his last job so he could come get me and we could head out on our Epic Road Trip.
A brief grief squall – Then gratitude for the memory.
We got on the road and wended our way through the traffic to Toronto. When I dropped them off at the airport we hugged and they told me to be strong and I’d see them in December. Well, Chris said he hoped he WOULDN’T see me in December but he just says that to hide his warm and generous heart. Also he’s a little bit of an ass. But I love that about him too 🙂 As I headed back to Guelph I had another brief grief squall – these sailors bring all kinds of unpredictable emotional weather when they leave.
And now it’s time for my own adventure. I’m waiting for the results of two job interviews – I may end up in Alberta again, or I might stay in Ontario. One of the gifts I got from Warren was the gift of travel – I can go anywhere now – and I don’t fear anything anymore. So now where I land is less important than where I can go. I do miss those blue eyes and that hand to hold as I travel though.
I got a text from Linda this morning, saying they made it to Gaspé just fine and soon will be reunited with their beloved MonArk. If you would like to follow their adventures, Linda also has a blog called liveaboard four seasons on a sailboat. If you follow that link you can watch as she and Chris sail across the sea again.
It’s amazing where life can take us.
I’m sitting in the sunshine, feeling the familiar warmth on my skin, and remembering our days in Yuma. I distract myself from the spike of sorrow by wondering what to do with the rest of today. I have washed the truck and bought dog food – all good responsible Sandy activities. I also organized the truck inside – didn’t vacuum it but wtf, it’s some progress anyway. I don’t know what it is that is pushing me today – I feel restless? No. But I want to do something. Maybe I’ll go into Fergus tonight and watch the live music at the Brew House. Or maybe not.
I feel like I’m starting to emerge from under the tsunami of grief and sadness that has consumed me for days. I miss him. I miss having his hand to hold and his warm smile and his excellent advice. But if I listen to my inner voice he’s there. He’s still with me. And as much as that makes me sad and frustrated – I want to see him! – it is also becoming a comfort. There is a tribe (which tribe? I hear him prompt me – I don’t know Warren, I can’t remember…) that says that no one is really dead until the last day that their name is spoken.
Warren Allen McLeod.
I say his name each morning when I wake up and each night as I fall asleep. No forgetting on my watch. With that in mind, knowing that he’s still here in one way or another, I feel stronger. I am starting to pick up the the notes of my life, starting to compose the sound of the each day. Never more than a day ahead though – I know now that fretting about the future, trying to compose an aria to carry me through – is futile. We only have the notes for today. Cherish whatever melody that brings you.
Today I’m composing a solo: my melody is bright and warm with an undertone of melancholy. And that’s ok. It fits me right now.
This morning I woke up and realized that I had slept. The whole night, and this morning I feel rested.
In the month since Warren died, I have gotten maybe 4 hours of sleep in a stretch if I was lucky. My grief has been making demands. Fussing at the most inconvenient times, and spitting up on my life when I least expected it. Yet I care for this grief – hold it when it needs attention, rock my grief to sleep when it has cried itself out. There are times when I hold my sleeping grief inside me, aware that it is there but dormant, look at its sleeping face – Warren’s face – and my heart fills with a bittersweet love. My grief connects me to him still.
There have been days recently where I have been able to move forward while my grief was sleeping: I’ve had two job interviews and I’m starting to look forward to having a purpose and a routine again.
So this morning was a milestone for me: my grief baby slept through the night. I’m hopeful: maybe we’ve gotten to that stage where we are starting to understand each other, this grief and I.