Fear of NOT Living

Today is the 10 year anniversary of the day I lost 1/4 of my heart. One of the 3 I birthed and 4th I chose by marriage died. It’s hard to say but by the time this day came, I was begging for it to be over. When we learned Jeff’s brain was necrotic and he wouldn’t be coming out of the coma, we had decided to donate his organs. What we didn’t count on was that his young, healthy heart would continue to beat once off oxygen. Our only choice was to continue to keep him alive in a vegetative state or withdrawal all life support and let him go. I knew what our young, vibrant, fun loving child would want….The days leading up to his death were agonizing as I stayed next to him, hold his hand on a pillow handmade by volunteers at a hospital, cradling his body, afraid to leave his side in case he left when I wasn’t there. He finally passed while the family was circled around, telling funny stories about him. I actually experienced relief that the nightmare ended, even if it was the worst possible ending…

Many people have expressed concern about us embarking on our cruising life during these times. I have a pacemaker keeping my heart beating and we’re in the middle of a pandemic, which shows no signs of slowing down. We’re in an age bracket that carries a higher risk of getting seriously ill if we do contract covid-19. Why would we want to risk it? Why not stay home, near good hospitals, in our little cocoon and stay safe? Honestly, I’ve always been a bit of an adrenaline junkie. Sailing, scuba, water and snow skiing, white water rafting and even skydiving have all been a part of my life. I tend to be an adventure seeker, so part of it is that. During covid-19 times we can take precautions like wearing masks, staying outside and keeping physically separated and still do what brings us joy. The other part, the bigger part I think, is that, while I don’t have a fear of dying, I DO have a strong fear of “not living”.

That begs the question, what is living? What is a life worth living? I think it’s the right and responsibility of each individual to decide that for themselves. I don’t get to dictate what others should be doing with their lives and they don’t get to dictate that for me either. My sweetheart and family know my wishes if I’m ever in a state where I can’t make the decisions for myself and I know and respect theirs. While we work together towards common goals, in a marriage, a family, a business, an organization or a community, we can do so in a way that allows individuals to create their own experiences, to utilize their own strengths and to live their own “best lives” while still meeting our collective needs. I firmly believe that when each individual wins, we all win.

Right now, MY dream looks like sleeping on a gently rocking boat, waking up to the sunrise, experiencing new places, and learning new things as we head down the intracoastal waterway towards Florida. I feel like we’re part of a huge migration of people…All lined up like ducks in a row..heading south for the winter. I’m so excited to be part of it and keep pinching myself to make sure I’m awake!

I feel so fortunate to have found a sweetheart who shares my dream …to have a family that supports me in living my dreams, a business partner who joined with me to make the closing and sale of the business happen in a way that worked for both of us, and friends with whom to share the adventure. I know that no matter where we physically are, they know I carry them in my heart and will be with them always.

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