Cruisers exist outside of life. It seems that way. In our heads we know people go to work, they celebrate events, they vacation, marry, divorce, die; but as cruisers those events seem like ghosts in the night. Days become weeks, months become years and we move from one location to another.
There are times the outside world knocks on our Utopian (some would think that) room: Taxes, Bureaucracy, Mother Nature.
In Banda there were many individuals getting colds, or flu. People getting sick. While on the boat I am rarely sick, yet somehow I joined the Banda ill. I had a low grade fever, and lacked energy. After close to 3 weeks I was telling myself that I was now well. Physically well. Then I received an urgent email from my sister in the states. My mother had been taken to a critical care unit in the hospital.
Fortunately in the 21st century we have the internet and Apple’s FaceTime app. I contacted my sister. She was in the hospital with mom. Mom was not looking good. The hospital had run some tests, she had Covid, she had pneumonia, she was struggling to breathe and had a breathing tube. She was on multiple drugs to ease any pain. At this point mom wasn’t communicative. No Duh! I wouldn’t be either.
I left the phone on and connected to the internet so if there were any changes my sister would reach out. Three hours later she did. The Dr was going to remove the breathing tube from her. Mom was teetering on the edge. I spoke with her. She knew me. She knew my sister. My sister spoke with her. We all gave our love and pledged our support. Mom closed her eyes and rested. I tried resting too.
A couple hours later my sister called and we teared up together. Mom had passed; 97 years old. A life full of hardship and adventure. Many wonderful moments, many sad. A life well lived. If I make it to 97 I hope I am able to say the same. A life well lived.
Out here in paradise we often become immune to what others are going through. The day to day. Oh; cruisers have a day to day; many similarities and so many differences; enough that we often forget what all those friends and families back home feel, see, and do every single day.
I am in the Banda Islands, Indonesia. A very remote place. There are two flights per week in and out and they are fully booked a month out. If there is an emergency on the island those people get priority and someone gets bumped. Two guests of the island got bumped and they hired a long boat (fast boat-not what you would think) to take them to an island better connected to the outside world. The trip was expected to take 4 hours. The wx wasn’t looking good. They were young and invincible. They went anyway. Everyone on the boat was needed to bail water out of the boat simply to stay afloat. They made the trip in 9 hours. The trip was to take only 4! Luckily they lived to tell about it. Not everyone does. Last month Banda lost a fisherman. Never found the boat or him. Returning to Florida would take me a week if everything went perfectly. That plus leaving the boat in Banda would be risky. My sister and I decided that I could best help with what I could through email and FaceTime.
I attended the funeral by FaceTime. Spoke with many of my relatives I’ve not seen in decades. Thanks to my sister who had the app working on her iPad I was able to watch. Partaking would have been too much. Watching was enough.. for me.
When the weather improves we will move to Bali (we expect it to take about 6 weeks), haul Elysium out for safe storage and fly back to the states. By then, mom is in the ground. Life for many will be back to the routines people craved. And then I would be able to find some closure. She is buried with my Father (who passed when I was 4) in Iowa. I will visit them again, as they once were.. together.