The Minimalist Sailor

Brought to you by Project BlueSphere

A Gift

It has been a very difficult few weeks since my last writing.   I have had absolutely no motivation to write and have seen my boat very little.   But I think it’s time I shared what’s been going on. On Monday, November 16th at about 9:00 a.m., my mother lost her eight-year battle with follicular thyroid cancer.  She was 53 years old.  I don’t want to eulogize her here, but I will say that she spent her life doing precisely what she wanted from it.  She never wished for a career, never wanted a big salary or fancy cars. All she wanted was to raise a family and be a loving wife, and she did so happily.  She lived her life selflessly for others, especially for my brothers and me. And to me, this is the real purpose of life – to simply be happy, no matter what your pursuit is.

For me, being free of the humdrum of “normal” society is that pursuit.  My mom realized that, and she supported me one-hundred and ten percent on it.  She knew that whatever it would take to make me happy, it was worth whatever sacrifices and hardships I had to make, even if it meant leaving my beloved family behind.

12239725_10153256194246984_7822120791560125582_nShe had a small bucket list.  First she wanted to see both of my brothers’ jobs (one is a theater teacher and the other a nursing home administrator), and then she wanted to go sailing on my boat.  She told us that these were things that she wanted to do before Christmas, but I think she secretly knew these were her last wishes.   And she got to do all three things within ten days before her passing.  She got to see my brother’s play, my youngest brother’s facility, and my boat.  Pretty damned incredible, huh?

Because of health complications, Mom couldn’t climb the ladder to board when Lorilee was in the shipyard, and Lorilee’s current slip doesn’t have finger docks, so climbing aboard can be tricky, even for me.  As such, she has never been aboard Lorilee, and hasn’t seen the cabin that is to be my future home. However, Mom was ardent about getting aboard.  She wanted to see the inside and she wanted to go out sailing. Nothing was going to stop her!
12232865_10153256194281984_6469323617181690997_oSo Dad and I helped get her aboard, I got the engine fired up, and we headed out into Aransas Bay.  By some miracle, after several days of uncertain weather, the clouds parted for a sunny and breezy afternoon.

We made a few laps around the bay, saw some dolphins, and headed back in before sundown.  It was simply perfect.  And despite her countless tumors, Mom was gifted a respite from her coughing for just one day.  I think I’ve said here before that I’m not a terribly religious person, but I do think someone up above was on our side that day.


And as if her List was complete, she passed away peacefully in our home two days later.  I cannot overstate how thankful I am that she got to take part in something that brings me so much joy.  It was the greatest gift she could’ve given me.  And when I finally break out into the great blue yonder, I know she’ll be there with me, every step of the way.



Published in Ryan Bradfield
Updated: December 14, 2015 — 13:16


  1. Great blog Ryan, writing from the heart is such a noble, healing, and courageous gesture. It helps others feel and connect. As you know I lost my mother to lung cancer when I was just 20, we were close, all I can say is she has been with me every day and has guided me throughout my life and travels.

    Carla and my thoughts are with you these days, if you want to reach out you know where we are. Maybe we should sail Eleanor down to Panama soon?

    Peace brother.

    1. Thanks man. I’m definitely looking forward to spending some time aboard Eleanor again.

Comments are closed.

The Minimalist Sailor © 2017 Frontier Theme
Translate »
Skip to toolbar