February 6, 2016 – Sunrises & Sunsets

Saying goodbye - Peter & Mom
Saying goodbye – Peter & Mom

We are fortunate to be out in the world to savor perhaps more than our share of sunrises and sunsets. It’s one of my favorite aspects about our voyaging path. These reflected memories shimmer and grow even more meaningful when, far from the sunrise, sleep is elusive. Later today my family will gather in my hometown near Rochester, NY to remember and celebrate my Mom’s life. She died peacefully at age 86.

My Mom was a saint; she pretty much had to be to put up with my brothers and I when we were young. I’m afraid her unfailing kindness and compassion were sorely tested. I would say that she never raised a hand to us, but strictly speaking, that’s not quite accurate. She never raised more than a wooden spoon to us, specifically to my brother Mark, a point which would invoke peels of laughter for many years to come–despite being well deserved, the spoon broke on impact with his butt. A lesser person might have gotten out the kitchen knives, but Mom laughed too. I think she felt it was a sign for her to embrace her kindness rather than try to deny it. In truth, I’ve never met a more compassionate person. She was a vegetarian for over forty years; she valued life in all forms. I can clearly remember her using a glass to capture spiders or other creatures who found themselves inside our home. She would speak softly as she released the wayward bug on the back porch “off you go….”

Despite her overwhelming softness and kindness, Mom was fierce in a way. She was passionate about her convictions. She had a way of looking a person in the eye to say “this is how it’s going to be, got it bub?” She loved nature and was passionate about protecting the environment. Even in the 1960’s and ’70’s when recycling was almost unheard of, she did it religiously. If one of us kids put an apple core in the trash instead of the compost there would be hell to pay. I was raised on non-homogenized milk, fresh pressed carrot juice and bread baked from home-ground wheat. The mere suggestion of something pasty like Wonder bread, Fluff-a-nutter or Fruit Loops would be enough to bring out “the look.” Fierce.

Something else Mom was fierce about was living in the moment. Being present, fully awake, and plugged into the here-and-now is an experience that takes work. This was the way Mom cherished life. For as long as she could, she made it a point of discipline, her work: to savor each moment. This is how I remember my Mom. I celebrate her life with tears streaming down. Times like these are a bracing reminder that, like each day, life is finite. Each moment is a choice and an opportunity to cherish life. This is why we are voyaging, and Mom would understand.

At the end of the day, if we’re lucky, the sun bathes the world with the warmth of orange light, and the shadows grow long. At the end of a life, if we are fortunate, the shadows of memory grow long and reach out to draw up the night like a blanket as we lay ourselves to rest.  What I learned from Mom is: until that moment comes, be kind, be compassionate, and cherish fiercely each moment of your life.

Mom and Dad with Karen - 1992
Mom and Dad with Karen – 1992

8 thoughts on “February 6, 2016 – Sunrises & Sunsets”

  1. My Sweetie Petey, Your memorial to your Sweet Mom is beautiful. I venture to say that I am also greatly blessed by her life. My tears merge with yours into the infinite ocean of life as I read your tribute. You inherited your Mom’s compassion and sense of respect for life. I am so grateful to be included in the Arpag family circle and consider you my son. Please feel the love I send to you and your family. Those with you on Batu and those remaining in Rochester. I am with you all in spirit.

    1. Dear Grannymobile,

      Thanks sweet Mumsy. I’m so thankful you had the strength to speak with Mom about her fears when I did not. You’re “da bomb!” Super excited to get the inside scoop on Africa – WOW!

      PT

  2. We are so sorry to learn of the passing of your Mother. Our thoughts are with you and your family. Big HUGS! from all of the “C” Dock Gang!

    1. Dear Rhonda & Nick Mark,

      Thanks much. We’re thinking of you guys often and hoping for warm breezes in the Gorge, or wherever sails will take you!

      Some friends here were about to puddle jump aboard their Pacific Seacraft 37 – fully loaded with water maker & loads of cruising gear. They found an Island Packet that fit their family better, but are selling the PS37 here in Puerto Vallarta starting at $89k. It’s an earnest price that made me think of you guys and maybe a few others on C-dock. Check the listing on Yachtworld if interested. The vessel is named Coaster.

      Kind regards,

      Peter

  3. PT Sir,
    I’m sending you and family,my sincere condolences. I had couple of good times when yur mom &dad would visit the Herendeen Cottage. Unique family, and damn glad Karen found you ! Sending hugs long distance, love always
    Pj

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