Adjusting to the “new normal”

Three months ago, life as I knew it changed. It feels like yesterday that I was kneeling next to Amy, ambulance on its way, trying to explain to her that no, she wasn’t “okay,” that she was having a stroke. And then those three surreal days in the hospital as family rushed to Grand Rapids to be at her bedside, to say goodbye. It was late July–hot and steamy; today the air is cool, trees are bursting with autumn’s color. And our lives without my beloved sister go on.


We got in a few days of cruising aboard Thyme Hyssop & Wry this past summer: 5 days while my youngest sister was visiting Michigan and taking over medical appointments with Amy, then 10 days following Amy’s death and before I headed back to work part time for the fall semester. They were tender, slow, restorative days. We didn’t get any further than the far west end of the North Channel, but we spent time in some of our favorite anchorages with some of our good boating friends.

We even got in a bit of sailing!


It’s now nearing the end of October. Thyme Hyssop & Wry is on the hard, nestled in one of Shepler’s cold barns at Mackinaw City. Ron is gathering boat “stuff” to take south. Our plan is for a very different cruising season from the past two winters when I didn’t dare venture more than a day’s travel from an air flight home, should my sister need me. We will not be spending months attached to a mooring ball at Fort Myers Beach. I look forward to spending quality time anchored at Cayo Costa with long walks among Amy’s beloved long needle pines. Who knows? Maybe we’ll finally figure out the watery path to that back bay where we’re perfectly protected in northerly winds. It’s a plan!

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3 thoughts on “Adjusting to the “new normal”

  1. Dear JoEllen, I still can not add comment on your blog; but want you to know how often I think of you and your family. I am happy to hear you will spend time on your boat this winter. Visiting the paths with the long pine needles will be a helpful step in the grieving process! Just know you remain in my thoughts and prayers! Fondly, Elaine S/V Elle&I

    Sent from my iPad

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  2. I am so happy to hear that you want to revisit your paths to collect the wonderful long pine needles. These are the memories that will help you in the grieving process. My love to you, Elaine S/V Elle & I

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