I will confess, I’m not sure if I can put all of the events of the past months into one post without driving anyone who is still reading to hit the delete button. Twenty twenty two has not been kind. Too many endings and not enough beginnings. Not enough victories. Too many losses. And it’s only November. Today is All Saint’s Day which is making me think of my Mom. My saint.

March found us visiting a beautiful independent living facility for Mom and signing her up. Her idea. April found us canceling that commitment to take on a new one in, Ohio of all places. Her idea. I was crushed. She’ll be so far away from us. May had us packing her things. Facilitating her farewell tour of the South. And watching her be lauded and applauded time and again as she readied herself to leave her beloved HHI.

She came to Mississippi. She came to the Florida panhandle. She admired our dancer, prayed with us for our newly confirmed Catholic and raised a glass with family, neighbors, and friends at DYC. She was brilliantly Mary B.

After I took her back to her island she dazzled the newest branch of the Tracy clan at Alex and Jessicas wedding. Then she rode North with my brother with her island in the rear view mirror and vowed she would return in September. …. to visit.

September 24th found the Tracy generations gathered on Mom and Dad’s island with a very different agenda in our grasp. We had brought Mom’s ashes home to place her under the Six Oaks next to Dads.

Somewhere between the “See ya soon HHI” and the ” Place me here forever” was the quiet tragedy of Mom slipping away. It happened so quickly that the reality of it has still not sunk in for me. She’s gone. She won. …. never had to live outside of her Wexford community. Never had to make new friends. Never had to suffer a prolonged decline in her 90’s. She just checked out. Part of me screams “Good for You!” but my selfish part just misses her. She was who I would call on my many commutes between Florida and Mississippi. She is who I would call when I was lonely. She is who I would call when I was questioning a decision or at a crossroad. She was Mom. You will never never never know how much your Mom means to your journey in life until she is no longer a part of that journey.

I am so very very grateful for my Salty at Sixty trawler journey that took us to Mom’s back yard and allowed us to live as her neighbor for almost two years.

Pelican is gone. Sold in May. Mom is gone. Died in June. But the memories will live forever. The sunsets from the flybridge at Shelter Cove. The Pub Nights at Wexford at Moms invitation. The Masses at Holy Family. The coffee at the bagle shop. The lunches just because…an era has come to a close.

Hilton Head visits will no longer hold the same meaning, but we will return. We must. Not to her home on Fairfax or to the balcony at Ketch on the harbor, but we will return. It’s in our souls to revisit the island that has been ours since youth. The smell of the pines and the pluff mud will call us home. And the cycle of life will go on.

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