Journey, Death, Journey
After leaving the Faroe Islands we continued on our fantasy voyage, following the route of the Vikings to Prince Christian Sound, to Greenland, Iceland again, back to Newfoundland, and I’ll tell you all about that soon. But first, reality intervenes. One thing about cruising, so obvious that you scarcely think about it, is that you are on a ship, out at sea, and sometimes you can’t get off, no matter how you try.
During that voyage we began to hear that Shel’s Mom was ill, then very ill, then deathly ill, all in the space of two weeks. When we got the news that made us really want to rush to Atlanta we were off the coast of Newfoundland with no way off the boat except a quick dive into freezing water. Ship to shore radio was barely functional. email was excruciatingly slow. Those 20 knots per hour, a nice clip for a contented cruiser, dragged on and on for us, and Shel’s Mom left the planet before we could go ashore.
It’s what she wanted, to go quickly and mostly without pain. She also didn’t want us to see her “like that.” Always coiffed and properly dressed, with bright red lips and shiny fingernails, red-haired in her youth like so many of the Vikings, right up until her death earlier this week at the age of 87 she was a fiercely Southern lady. And she was also the last of our parents to walk this earth, so that we’re now the oldest generation in our family, a sobering thought.
So welcome to Valhalla, Margaret. I know you believed in Heaven and drank only the occasional glass of Chardonnay, with an ice cube, but I’d rather think of you among the Valkyries, chalice raised, wolf guarding the door, surrounded by the brave souls who crossed that dark sea before you, and who died as sure of themselves as you always were. There was only ever one like you, and now there are none.