As much as I am comfortable with my own feelings and vulnerability, my knee jerk reaction when I am hurting is to play it tough and put on a brave face, to the point of ridiculously minimizing my own experience. I share just enough to demonstrate appropriate sadness, and stuff the rest out of deep fear of being deemed “too much”. The more deeply I feel something, the more I do this…..usually until I cannot hold it all in anymore and the only thing left for me to do is crumple into a heap and feel it all.
Yesterday I was in a heap. I received an email from a lovely person who said “ I am sorry to hear about the loss of Haunani, the brave C34 that could”…..well that did it, and I am so grateful, because I needed to stop and honor how I was truly feeling. I felt the reality of my loss come crashing down when I read those words. From the heap that was me (a puddle of tears, smudged mascara and snot really), the floodgates opened in earnest, and everything poured out. It all shook through me. I felt everything I had been pushing aside for the last 3 months and not fully allowing myself to embody: The emotional and financial stress of my dear dog being sick, my deep sadness over the loss of a very significant love in my life, and of course the grief of losing my beloved Haunani. Then there was the anger…the anger that someone did something so stupid and careless which in turn created a dark cloud over the most amazing experience of my life, is vibrating through my being as I write this. As I allow all of these feelings, I can hear the familiar voice in my head trying to minimize it or talk myself out of the validity of my experience. Well, I am not going to do that anymore, because this is all very real for me, and would I advise something so callous to a beloved friend? No. Never.
I have never seen a dead human body, but I imagine when one does, that you can tell that the soul is no longer in residence. I have certainly seen that in animals that have passed. The other day, when I went to see my Haunani on the hard, I had that sensation. I know that this sounds dramatic, and that many people will not understand, but I felt like her soul was no longer there. Now, I KNOW she is just a boat, and supposedly an inanimate object…..but let me tell you, that girl had soul. My friends tell me that it is because of me that she had soul, but I am more inclined to believe that it was a mutual creation.
These few weeks since her sad return have been very challenging for me. I have had to be very “official” in my dealings with the shipping company as well as with the boat yard and other professionals on the scene. I have had to have conversations with people about her state that have been so matter of fact that I felt like I was betraying her very essence...not to mention my own heart. And all the while, I have been fighting off waves of soul shaking grief that can bring me to my knees. When I think of how I felt as Haunani intrepidly carried me across the wild Pacific, it is hard to believe that she will never sail again. My heart is truly broken.
As I navigate the challenging waters of her deconstruction, I am choosing to focus on her greatness, and the grace and strength with which she carried me and all that I am through so much. She came into my life three years ago, and not only provided deep solace for me as I healed a broken heart, but she turned me into an offshore sailor. She consistently reminded me of who I really am. The only way I can make this loss make any sense is to honor the meaning that our relationship brought to my life. To honor that there is a time and a season for all loves, and perhaps ours was only meant to last for three years. Maybe she sacrificed herself to deliver me. Whatever the deep meaning behind our bond, I will be forever grateful for Haunani, the brave Catalina 34 that could.
all photos by Chris Woods