* Dr Seuss
This is Lucy here, Sarah’s fiancée.
I am writing from Chatham, Cape Cod as Sarah and I sit at the kitchen table, beavering away typing up bits of admin and writing Sarah’s will (we know how to do romance) ahead of her Atlantic departure (who knows when) and my flight home tomorrow.
I flew out two weeks ago to be here with her and help prepare, hoping that I would get to see the launch. Unfortunately the weather didn’t get the memo, so Sarah is still on shore and I won’t be here for it, given that I need to fly home to the farm tomorrow. It has been brilliant and the days have flown as we spend 24/7 side by side, helping and supporting each other. It was three months since we were last together in Minnesota at the end of our 2 months of riding through the winter together. Like every time, it felt like we had never been apart. The excitement of flying out to see Sarah was unbearable two weeks ago and equally, the pain of leaving tomorrow is way off the spectrum.
Our days have been full and varied, but with repeating themes of training, physio and massage, boat prep, admin and school talks. In the daily 2 hour gym sessions, I first tried to copy Sarah’s weights before realising she has been training like this for a few weeks before and so tailored them down. There has been some big decision making and exciting progress with thoughts of our life after the expedition and planning our wedding. There have been big decisions about Sarah’s journey and team as well. Besides getting Sarah ready to go, the goal has been to get Happy Socks ready to row too. Fixing and fitting bits and bobs, checking this and that – she is now sitting patiently at Ryders Cove Marina for the electrician to arrive in the morning to sort out a tech issue. She is looking very smart with her new stickers and wind turbine from Marlec and her skipper too is looking in great shape. Sarah’s having some fantastic physio and massage out here from Amy and Joyce, her diet and training is great and generally I haven’t seen her this healthy in months. She is ready.
Goodbyes are tough
I thought I had done pretty good job of convincing myself that this good bye would be easier than all the others, having done it before and with Sarah being so close (relatively) to home. And then yesterday the reality smacked me round the face when I overheard an interview that Sarah was doing with my friend Jen Crook, who has just flown home after a week of filming with us. (That and some great giggles, training and pie-eating)
Jen was interviewing Sarah when I arrived home from some errands, and so I sat on the bottom of the steps waiting for them to finish, listening as I did so. Eventually the questions turned to dangers at sea and the potential for life threatening scenarios. Switches flipped inside my head, pulling down those barriers I thought I had put up so well and the tears poured. I took myself off for a cycle, stopping at a beach to sit on the sand and collect my thoughts and pull myself together. The reality of being apart and of Sarah being alone out there is once again, very huge and very near.
Feel the fear
Today we all took a boat ride out to where Sarah will cross the Chatham Bar and pull away from Cape Cod into the big blue – a very surreal and sobering experience, but exciting too. I envied the seals on their sandbank – they will get to see Sarah leave.
The essence of it all is that I’m scared. I’m terrified. I’m terrified Sarah will be totally alone if something bad was to happen, and I’m terrified she won’t come home.
It is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to do: to help and support your most favourite person ever in fighting for their dream, being totally immersed in their excitement of the huge experience ahead and letting them go into the ocean physically alone. The goodbye time is massive. To let go, not knowing if you’ll ever see them again is mind blowing. It feels like a huge conflict of emotions running riot in every direction, my imagination going wild and needing to be kept in check – too much is a dangerous thing. I have learned it is not so much as trying to put barriers up but rather letting the emotion in, feeling it and accepting it and working with it, that will help us both get through.
I am constantly reminded how many gems are working with and for Sarah – she has the best possible team behind her. Happy Socks is sound and ready, and you couldn’t ask for any more top notch qualities in a person to get herself and boat home safely. We just need the weather to cooperate.
Since being out here I have been pooped on by gulls twice. I’m not superstitious, but hopefully it means only good things ahead…
So here’s to calm waters, westerly winds and homeward with the penultimate chapter.
P.S: An apology from Sarah for absent blogs recently. Atlantic prep grows arms and legs and she is just about stopped running to catch them up. She will be updating you all shortly. Remember you can also follow her Twitter updates (RHS)
P.P.S: Thank you to Roz and Bill Coleman for their fab accommodation Ship’s Light; Joyce Hutchings for the best massages I think I’ve ever had; Carol and Chatham Health Club for use of their brilliant gym; Ryders Cove Boatyard for all their support; John Dickson for organising the public talk at Monomoy RHS; Bill Burlin for the dinners and company and Rob Eustace and MK3i for shipping – and to everyone else who has looked after Sarah since she has been here.
P.P.P.S: As soon as Sarah and Lee (weather router) make a call on weather and departure, we will post it here.