While we were moored in the Port of Rome, we met two extremely nice people in the form of Janet and Dave aboard Alegria. I say in the form of Janet and Dave, because they seemed to do everything together and it is hard not to think of them as one unit. They were adventurous and seemed to live the cruising experience fully. They threw themselves into exploring Rome and environs and even got the birder and the stick in the mud to join them in a few excursions. They must have gone to St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican museum at least eight times.
It is with much sadness that I write that Janet has passed away after a long, hard fight against ovarian cancer. They came home to the US to be with Dave's Mom who was ill and discovered Janet's cancer. They both endured more than even the usual hardships in this fight. Alegria was in Turkey waiting for them and as they have been out sailing off and on since 1977, they didn't have a house in the US. They house-sat and stayed with family and friends when they could or stayed in hotels. I can't imagine how hard just that aspect of this battle has been, let alone getting the news that the cancer they hoped was gone, was back.
If any sailor/cruisers checking in on my blog had the pleasure of meeting Janet and Dave and would like to contact Dave, here is Alegria's blog:
There are some poignant posts and comments on the blog which choked Gene and I up more than once. I am going to post a poem that they loved:
A PARABLE OF IMMORTALITY
by Henry Van Dyke, Born 1852, Died 1933
I am standing upon the seashore. A tall sailing ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until at length she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!”
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her. And just at the moment when someone at my side says: “There, she is gone!” there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout: “Here she comes!”
And that is dying.
Fair Winds, Janet.