I entered 2016 on a dark horse. Still in mourning over the loss of Lexie to cancer just a week earlier, I had little to celebrate. No matter how much I tried, I could not escape the cloud that hung over me. A ray of sun would break through, even if only for a moment.
When I began this journey, my goal was to find Life after Death; specifically, my life after Lexie’s death. I needed to find out who I was. Where was the happiness I had with Lexie and where was I going. I needed to be able to be happy again. I turned to the one element that always brought me peace – Water. I set my sights on Key West for Key West was the farthest south I could go by kayak.
The paddle was leisurely compared to the day before and I had to laugh when a fisherman I was paddling bye commented that I was brave paddling against the current; if he’d only known what I had paddled through to date. Life is relative to your prior experiences. As I approached my last bridge in New Jersey, I turned on my VHF radio to listen to the large fishing boats talk to the Bridge Tender and each other. I enjoy listening to their chatter. I passed under the bridge, turned to Starboard and I was officially in Cape May.
Shortly after I departed, I was trying to stay out of the boat channel, as it looked narrow. Suddenly, my paddle was touching bottom. I shortened my stroke, but the ground was coming up fast, due to low tide. I was trying to get back to deeper water but the wind had other ideas for me. Then it happened. I ran aground…in a kayak!
The tide that had been fighting me started helping me as I neared the next inlet and I reached the end of Sea Isle in record time. I was surprised at how small this inlet was. There was a drawbridge that had to be opened to let the big fishing vessels in from the ocean. I easily paddled across this inlet and reached Avalon just after 5pm.
I awoke this morning feeling down, but this time it wasn’t from the paddling or what lay ahead, but today was Lexie’s 13th Birthday. I should have been planning a nice steak dinner for my little girl and not paddling 2000 miles trying to find Life after Death, but she’s no longer here and that is what I’m doing. Mommy and I miss you terribly Peanut.
We can fight physical challenges and often, humans do very well with the physical, but the emotional challenges are much harder to overcome. Often, failure is not due to physical limitations, but emotional ones. After lunch I began to battle my mind. While I now had a few great nights meeting wonderful people, the loneliness on the water is getting to me. This is the battle I set out to conquer as the loneliness was also affecting me in Vermont too. My mind was full of a strong desire to quit.