Yes, Howard, there is nothing quite like the sharp awareness of death, of our impermanence, to make us cherish life. Death is one of the things that has pressed us sea-ward. We bought our home in San Francisco with two other couples. Both of the other couples split up and one person from each couple died during the 13 years we shared that home. So much beauty, so much grief. (Steve, we feel your support of our dreams echoing through the years.)
We had originally planned to rent our home in San Francisco while we tried a cruising life, but the death of our friend Dan would have meant owning our home with strangers, so we let it go and just leapt. (Dan, we love you and carry you in our hearts.)
We carry the ashes of yet another friend, one of the great loves of my youth, who became a brother to James and I. Ludwig wished for his ashes to be spread in the Pacific, “far enough out that they cannot wash back to land.” And while everything will reach the land eventually, we do have his ashes to spread when we get a good ways offshore. (Ludwig, last night we got weirdly lost trying to walk to the recycling at the far end of the marina by a scenic route. I do believe I’ll write about that in just a moment. I love you forever.)
One of the students in my class for people with cancer said to me that he had spent his whole life working incredibly hard to save for a retirement that he was now not going to have in the way he had dreamed. He put his hand on my shoulder, looked me in the eye, and said, “Don’t wait.” (Thank you, Mike. May you be well and cherish many more days.)
So here we are, pressed by our awareness of the fleeting nature of life to live to the fullest, to take exquisite care with that endeavor, and to tell everyone we love that we love them, all the time, over and over.
Howard, I love you so. Your friendship and mentorship is such a gift. I am so happy to see you writing here. Thank you for your presence and thoughtful contribution.