To my followers, I at least owe you a summary of the past four months.
March 20 – April 12
As you know, I returned from Hawaii on March 13. A week later I was to have Ta Daa (our 45’ sailboat) at Canoe Cove to be hauled out for bottom maintenance – a scrub and paint.
To make the trip to Canoe Cove, I needed company, just because… because I just did not want to be alone. Ted and Cheryl agreed to accompany me. This was the first time that I have ever left the dock without Ron. I honestly did not know how I would cope. I have to say that there are many responsibilities before setting out and many responsibilities while under way. I now realized that the entire responsibility rested on my shoulders. Ted and Cheryl, also Hunter sailboat owners, were welcome and comfortable guests on board. It was gusting to near 20 knots and a little too much for me to want to sail on this particular voyage. Naturally, we made it safe and sound. Thank you, Cheryl and Ted!
While in Canoe Cove I realized that I had decisions to make. In the past, Ron and I would usually discuss what was to be done and agree on priorities. Again, this responsibility rested on my shoulders – mine alone. I am beginning to not like this but there is no alternative. I had to suck it up and carry on.
I had the bottom scrubbed and painted, the through hulls inspected, my hot water tank checked, the boat polished, the aft life lines changed to stainless and an outboard motor lift installed.
The stomach cancer scare with Winston also took place during this period. For two days life was surreal. You can read about this in my previous post Winston Harris 1st – My Fur Baby.
April 13 – May 5
During my stay at Canoe Cove, I came to the conclusion that I must to get away on the boat. This was going to be my version of a walkabout. I was afeared that if I did not head out on the boat – by myself – that I would become complacent and not use the boat at all. Off I went.
Tim and Tara came to see me off at Canoe Cove. While they were visiting we realized that Tara had time to come with me to Ganges. We had a girl voyage – except for Winston. It was a short trip. Once there we had a late lunch before Tara boarded the local transit to Fulford Harbour for the ferry ride back to Swartz Bay. By 1930, same evening, Leanne and Gracie showed up and kept me company for two nights. We visited with the Momma and Bud, I provisioned Ta Daa and filled the propane tanks. It was now time to head out. My first goal was to cross The Salish Sea also known as the Georgia Strait. This is a long trip so I decided to head to Montegue Harbour on Galiano Island. Leanne and Gracie saw me off on April 15 in the morning. Poignant is the word that comes to mind. As I motored out of Ganges Harbour I was overcome with irrepressible sobbing. Little did I know, the same was happening to Leanne. We had both come to the realization that I was truly on my own.
Once docked in Montegue I set out to take Winston for a row to a beach. I should note here that the Marina was still closed for the season – not a soul in sight. This is the first time I had been to Montegue. It was beautiful, quiet and picturesque. I was, yet again, moved by emotion. I truly missed sharing new this experience with Ron. I was upset that he could not share the beauty and solitude with me.
That evening I checked the charts, weather and tide and current tables. All was good to go to False Creek, Granville Island.
Once through Porlier Pass I was in the open strait. I expected emotion but conversely felt a great sense of calm and peace. This was a delightful and unexpected feeling. It was windless, as was forecast. I motored onward. About half way, I was haunted by my Hawaiian wedding dress.
Ron had a matching shirt. Ron was cremated in this Hawaiian wedding attire. I wore this dress while spreading Ron’s pixie dust in Hawaii. For me it was symbolic. Once home from Hawaii, I wondered about the dress. I knew in my heart I would never wear it again. I also knew that I did not want to give it to a thrift store. I did not even want to keep this dress but I was stumped as to what to do with it. That is until I was stunned by my own thought. With Ta Daa on auto pilot I went below, got my dress and ceremoniously threw it in to the ocean. That is where it belonged, with Ron. I felt a great sense of relief. It felt right.
The winds, heading into English Bay, were gusting to 30 knots. Not a problem. I safely docked at Specialty Yachts. There I stayed for a few days while seeking information regarding my hot water tank.
The crossing of Georgia Strait, I thought was going to be more weepy than it was. Again I was taken aback. Granville Island was extremely demanding on my emotions. It took me a couple days to solve the unknown. I came to realize that Granville Island was a big part of our life. We made many boat decisions here. We laughed, we cried, we realized our boating dreams, and we found our courage on Granville Island. On Granville Island we kissed, we hugged, we supported and professed our love for each other. The reality of our – Ron and Janice - dream come true was instigated on Granville Island; from our first 30’ sailboat to our 45’ Ta Daa. It was a tough nut to swallow being there alone. Lawrence, thank you for your friendship and for putting up with so many tears.
After Granville Island, I headed for Schooner Cove, then off to the Comox Valley. There I spent Easter with the kids at Filberg Lodge. I was very happy being in the Valley with family and friends. All good things come to an end and it was time for me to think about heading home. Nanaimo was my next stop. Here I got to visit with Ron and Monica. Great food and great company; thank you so much for your friendship. From Nanaimo I headed back to Montegue Harbour. This time I hooked a mooring buoy for the night. This was my first time on a mooring buoy and that is another story for another time. From Montegue I headed to Sidney North Saanich Yacht Club. It was too windy to head to homeport Westbay. May 5, the wind lightened so Winston and I headed home. It was a bittersweet moment. I felt as thought I could have stayed out roaming around forever. If you watched Forest Gump remember when he ran and ran and ran. I now know that feeling. I just wanted to go and never come back.
May 10 – June 16
May 10 I returned to work, very part time. I have always said that if I have to work, I am fortunate to work with my current team. The support is unwavering and never ending. I felt confident to return to work. No amount preplanning could have prepared me for such emotional upset. My workspace is a shrine of Ron memorabilia: pictures, quotes, cards, emails and more. These items are the love that I surrounded myself with, all gifts and tokens of his thoughts and feelings collected over the years. Today I still have not found the strength or courage to turn on the electronic photo album. I stare at it from time to time wondering if I have the strength. Ultimately I turn away with the belief that it will happen another day.
Good news! My daughter is getting married on July 9. She is keeping my mind occupied. The truth is that I am happy to have such a joyous distraction. I am thankful that I can live so far away and be so involved with the planning. Thanks Meg!! Love you forever.
Also, my son and his children bring me happy, happy times. Leanne, Bill and Gracie too. Just a few days ago we had a great time exploring Kye Bay at low tide. It was disappointing when it was time to head to the cabin for lunch. Crab, sand dollars, moon snails, bull heads and much more in abundance at the beach.
I have had the fun of taking the boat out on two more occasions; the Bluewater Cruising Rendezvous on Pender Island and the Hunter Rendezvous on Thetis Island. Each time I take the boat, my confidence for single handed sailing grows and grows.
When I look back, I can honestly and thankfully say that I am in the grieving process and working my way through it. I have to admit, when I look to the future there is a lack of joy in my heart, great sadness and frustration. I do believe that will change in time. I can also tell you that there is much pain in my heart. There are days that I believe that a broken heart will never mend. Then there are days that I have hope.
I have also come to learn that I am not only grieving the loss of a great man I am grieving the loss of our dream. There is no wind in my sails. I am grieving that loss too.