Dad’s Greatest Gift Led to Life on a Boat

  • March 4, 2020

Where does five year go? When it marks the death of a loved one, it’s hard to believe five years have passed and at the same time how can it only be five years. Didn’t we just say good-bye? Maybe that’s because they are never really gone.

Today marks the five year anniversary of losing my dad. While his death wasn’t exactly unexpected – he had been battling an aggressive form of Parkinson’s for a few years – it certainly wasn’t any easier. I can still remember that night as he slipped away from us and I can remember my eulogy, mostly word for word. And the months that followed were filled with tears and grieving.

Dad's Hand

But these past five years have given me the privilege of perspective. And I realize that beyond giving me fabulous blue eyes, a wonderful (at least in my mind) sarcastic sense of humour and a love of sports, his greatest gift is helping me and my Handsome Hubby to live life to the fullest.

When he passed away, Handsome Hubby and I were living the typical middle class life. Both us were working full-time, me with a gross commute and office I detested, him with irregular and long hours and physical work. Outside of work we filled our days with household chores, kids’ activities (HH has two from his first marriage), catching up on sleep and trying to build a life together. Were we happy? We thought so – isn’t this what we’re supposed to do as adults? Someday we’d retire and someday we’d get to do everything we were working so hard for.

Someday….

But sometimes someday doesn’t come. Or it looks a lot different than you planned. That’s what happened to mom and dad. They worked hard, saved their money and looked forward to spending their someday together. But their someday was hijacked by an evil disease.

And that’s how dad gave me his greatest gift. On our flight home after the funeral, Handsome Hubby and I agreed it was time to stop waiting for someday. It was time to live for today. We didn’t know exactly how that looked but we knew we didn’t want to start living in 20 years.

In our typical fashion, we didn’t really plan anything, rather we simply adopted this new mindset. The result? I quit the job that was making me miserable. Then to make that work financially, we sold our townhouse and downsized to a condo. That had the benefit of being closer to the kids and seeing them more often.

Without a full-time job, I took on the role of a “typical housewife” and managed our household during the day. This freed up our evenings and weekends to do exactly what we wanted. Whether it was time on the boat, visiting with friends and family or just hanging out together on the couch, we were starting to live our someday.

Toes in the Sun

Relaxing in Gig Harbor…

We are lucky that HH’s job doesn’t limit his vacation time. And with my new freedom away from an office, we started taking advantage of extended holidays. In the winter we escaped to Mexico and in the summer, the Salish Sea became our playground.

After a couple of years we fell into a comfortable routine and life felt pretty good. We were happy and living the life we were meant to. Or so we thought. But we were both filing wishes and dreams away under someday. Like living on a boat.

An unexpected health scare of our own reminded us someday is not guaranteed. Luckily, while serious, it was only a blip on the radar. And we agreed that living on a boat was the someday that needed to become today.

We wanted to live small and simply while at home and experience as many adventures as possible. So we did – four months after making that decision we moved full-time onto Shiloh – our Tollycraft 37.

It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since Dad passed away. I miss him greatly. But I’m taking his greatest gift and living every day to the fullest.

Dad and Sandra at Niagara Falls

With Dad at Niagara Falls

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