A heartfelt goodbye

WP_20141101_005Wedding day_TerryIn Loving Memory
December 17, 1948-November 1, 2014

We soar above a bed of cotton candy clouds that appears to go on indefinitely. Above us, cirrus clouds are whipped across the sky. A pastel sunset is painted between the strata, strokes of pink and tangerine perfectly blended into each other. We’re on our way back to Santa Barbara to The Red Thread; to a city we knew but for a single day before we flew urgently back to Seattle for two weeks. We’ve known sadly that this travel home would inevitably come at some point during our journey. Neil’s dad was fighting bravely his battle with cancer, but we knew in our hearts that his time to make the passage from this life and into the next was near. We returned to Seattle to pay our respects to him and to celebrate his life with our family.

Penn Cove_CheersNeil’s father was gravely ill when we began our voyage from Seattle at the end of September. We had struggled with our decision to leave, a battle we waged privately together. We worried at times that beginning our journey was a selfish choice, and we grappled with how to balance the emotional turmoil we were experiencing with the weather windows we were facing. We knew that our window of opportunity to sail safely from the Pacific Northwest this season would close imminently if we did not leave when we did. We left with Neil’s father’s encouragement and blessing, and we struggled with worry about him each day.Family_Neil & TerryFamily_Jessie & TerryNow, winged vessels take us in a matter of hours a distance it took us a month to sail. The next chapter of our voyage will not involve worrying about his dad’s pain and suffering, the brutal sequelae of cancer. He is freed from that anguish now. In some ways, it feels as if a new chapter of our journey is beginning. Our journey now includes mourning for his passing, especially for Neil. He was close to dad. We grieve for the memories we will not make with him and the stories we will not have an opportunity to share. We carry him with us in photos and reminiscences, in hats and suit jackets, and in tools. He left his greasy fingerprints on our engine when his leathered hands so lovingly taught Neil about diesel mechanics, the trade in which he was a master. I will miss his quirky stories; his bright, handsome smile; and the way he welcomed me into his family as if I had belonged there always. Rest in peace, Terry.Wedding day_Family

21 thoughts on “A heartfelt goodbye

  1. What an extraordinarily difficult thing to have to decide. It sounds like Neil’s dad truly wanted the best for his son, a legacy that will carry Neil well into the future. Our hearts are with you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Alan for the love and support. Jessie and I think of you and Emily often and hope that one day we’ll be reading about your stories as you sail together. In the meantime, we love your blog and follow it closely. 🙂 ~J+N


  2. You’re an amazingly brave and inspirational couple, take your father’s spirit with you as you follow through with his blessing to enrich yourselves and others as you explore the world


    • Thank you both. Getting the opportunity to spend a few hours in the Aquatic Park with the crew of SeaGlub was one of our main highlights of our trip to San Fran! We can’t wait to read your stories and follow along as you set out. All our best! ~Neil


  3. We are so sorry for the loss of Neil’s dad. He is now following your adventure from above. Look up at that bright star in the sky–he is with you.
    smooth sailing
    Barb and John


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  5. We want to give you our condolences, for Neil’s father passing.
    He is with you, all the way, we know what you went through with making the dicision to leave or not,we think you did right, you gave him so much joy by heading out there, that way he was able to follow you for the start of the trip,i just know that gave him happiness!!!
    We are in CARLSBAD, yes, in California!!!! The boat didnt get to come, Bert bought a Westfalia so we are camping down the coast, watching for The Red Thread!!!
    Love and hugs to you both!!!! Bert and Mejan. SV Curtsy


    • The fondness we have for S/V Curtsy and you Bert and Mejan is immense. We miss your smiling faces so very much and think of the two of you often. Thank you for your kind words, and know that we are doing well. Please keep us updated on your land travels – how exciting! Sending our love, Neil and Jessie


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