Last weekend we traveled to Connecticut to attend my grandmother’s funeral.  She was 95 and died peacefully in her sleep.  Although I hadn’t seen her in 5 years, I did talk to her several times a year, probably not as much as I could have, but we did talk. Reflecting back, her initial reaction to our plan to sail is a little amusing.  When we first told her what we were planning on doing, she told us we were crazy!  She said that something on my grandfather’s boat was always breaking and that sailing wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  Shortly before she passed, my uncle shared the blog with her.  Her response, “I’m so glad they are doing this now, while they are still young enough.”  It’s nice to hear that she thought it was a good idea, and her blessing means a lot to me.

Losing a family member is hard.  Even though I hadn’t seen my grandmother in several years, it’s still a big loss.  I know I’ll never call her again, or see her again.  I actually hadn’t been able to speak with her in several months due to her significant hearing loss and her hearing aids no longer allowing her to hear over the phone.  At some point in our sailing adventures, I know we will be in the northeast US.  It saddens me to know we won’t be stopping to see her.

As we get closer to our departure from our current home, I think about some of the other losses that we are all going to experience.  While these losses may not be as significant as the death of a family member, they are still losses.  And, even though we are going to gain a lot, there are still things that we are giving up.  There will still be grieving for the loss. 

Over the past couple of years our youngest has been coming to CrossFit with me, almost every morning.  It’s been amazing to watch him, starting at 15 and now 17 years old, get up at 4:30 AM every day to go workout.  There’s the obvious thing, right?  He put is phone down and went to the gym?!  Another thing I have really enjoyed is watching him grow as a person.  When he first started coming to the gym with me, he was pretty quiet.  But as he continued to go, I’ve seen his sense of humor blossom and watched him mature in his ability to relate to adults.  He now knows how to give some trash talk, and how take it.  But more importantly, he also knows how to provide genuine encouragement to the other members as well.

I am going to miss seeing him grow in that environment.  But truth be told, I’m also going to miss the comradery and friendships that I have developed there.  My fellow CrossFitters have provided encouragement, help, and friendship over the years.  Growing up in a military family I learned at a young age to say goodbye to friends.  But, it’s never easy, no matter what new and exciting opportunities await you.

There is also the loss of our relative ease to visit family.  Our oldest is in their 2nd year of college and is only 45 minutes away right now.  There’s comfort as a parent in knowing we could be there quickly any time we are needed.  Once we are in Florida, or Maine, or Nassau, it’s going to be harder to see them.  I don’t think we see enough of our oldest now, and it’s only going to be harder.  Without a doubt we can dock at a marina and fly back to Wyoming to help out, but what is now a 45-minute drive will become a 2-to-3-day trip.  The same is true of our extended family as well.  There’s definitely loss there. 

There will be a loss of stability, both literally and figuratively.  The land is stable, there will be times when the waters in an anchorage are not smooth and stable.  We currently have stable sources of income, that will change dramatically after I resign and Sandy closes her business.  There is a sense of stability and predictability in our current lifestyle.  We know our daily routines, we know our favorite coffee shops, restaurants and brew pubs, and we know where the grocery store and gas stations are.  Our next steps hold many unknowns and a profound loss of stability.

There is a part of me that is fearful of the process of grieving these losses.  Grieving can be difficult, emotional work.  We have invited this change, and therefore invited this loss and grief into our lives.  We made the decision to pursue this dream because we are looking for adventure, the opportunity to see the world, and to grow as individuals.  We do not know what the future holds for us, but we embrace the opportunity to grow as we grieve these current losses.

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