Nineteen years ago today, September 10, my dear husband Bill died. He was just 63 and had everything to live for. He had retired a year before and was fully enjoying retirement. We had just bought a new sailboat and he was looking forward to racing it and was waiting for me to retire so we could cruise the Great Lakes. I often think of how different the world is today-there were no smart phones in 2002, no Facebook or other social media. I had just bought him a new film camera and lenses- we were just on the verge of digital photography. He was a techy so would have been the first to adopt and understand all these new technologies. He didn’t live to meet my son’s wife, or his granddaughter (who he would have adored) or to follow both son’s successful lives, whom he was so proud of.
Since Bill’s death I have lived a different life. I retired 6 months later and had to learn to manage everything he had handled so well-the finances, the cars, the pets, the boat, house maintenance, planning our sailing and skiing vacations- while I worked 50-60 hours a week. I continued to race our new 40-foot sailboat for six years with a great crew. I continue to travel but its different. I still try to be on a boat wherever I go, but only a few times chartering a bareboat, as we did in destinations all around the world: all over the Caribbean, in Australia, the Baha. We had a sailing trip to the Greek Islands scheduled for the week he died. Since then, I have been on expedition ships to Antarctica and around Cape Horn, South America. I have explored the Galapagos Islands, a place that was on our bucket list. I rafted the Grand Canyon- and could only think how much Bill, a geologist, would have loved that. I have been on excursion boats on the Turquoise Coast of Turkey, in the fjords of Norway and New Zealand. Bill and I would have sailed New Zealand’s Bay of Islands. I have had adventures kayaking, a sport Bill enjoyed too. i have also continued to ski, another commitment we both shared. But instead of always skiing at Vail with friends, I joined a ski club and have skied many ski areas in North America and have skied in France, Italy and Switzerland.
I wrote about all my travel adventures- both with Bill and since his death- in Wandering the World, Experiences of an Adventure Traveler. Life goes on, but there still is a hole in my heart and today especially I am sad and still grieving for what could have been.
"Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards."