After 38 years of marriage, my husband and I embarked on our life’s dream of sailing around the world on our own boat. However, less than three years into the voyage, Peter passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. I not only lost him, I lost my cruising lifestyle and my liveaboard home. My dreams were shattered. I no longer knew who I was or where I was going. However, with the help of family, friends, grief counsellors, churches, and my family doctor, I made it to the other side of grief. I learned so much, and being a former teacher, I enjoy sharing what I know with others.
In this case, I felt a calling to write this book to help others who have also suffered the loss of a spouse or a dramatic change in lifestyle which often goes hand in hand with that loss. My book provides practical and comforting advice including helpful steps to survival at the end of each chapter, an understanding of the stages of grief, and other useful tips such as ideas for getting to sleep and how to live alone. Through this grief, I also reflect frequently on the joys and challenges of cruising under sail, as that had been my life with Peter for over 30 years.
Fast forward to March 2012... Now almost six years later, and through the process of grief, one hurting step at a time, I have found joy in new dreams. In the last six years: I returned the boat home to Vancouver and enjoyed sailing with family in the Gulf Islands; I crewed on a friend’s offshore boat from New Caledonia to Australia; and I when I returned home I adopted a puppy. The next spring, I took an 8-week cruise ship voyage around South America. Three years ago I was elected Commodore of Bluewater Cruising Association and had the honour and privilege of leading this1000-member sailing organization that had become my family.
Six months later, I discovered and joined the Maple Leaf Singers, Vancouver’s incredible show chorus and every rehearsal is a joy; in fact my first big show on the Massey Theatre stage was such a thrill it gave me goose bumps. My search for the meaning of life and death also led me back to my faith.
Last year I bought a home, which I call Wanderer’s Rest, a quiet peaceful place where I can write, and large enough to host parties and overnight guests, which is something I love to do! Now that I have completed this voyage and have plans to write my second book, I'm dreaming about my next big trip - to French Polynesia. It’s #1 on my “bucket list”. Thank you for sharing in the voyage. May you find your joy in new dreams.
Voyage to the Other Side of Grief: Finding Joy in New Dreams, is available for purchase at www.w5communications.ca