Family Magazine

Some Good Must Come from This Tragedy

By Behan Gifford @sailingtotem


The terrible news came through last night: my friend Cidnie’s daughter, drowned in the marina where she and her husband keep their sailboat. I never experienced Kitty’s bright spark in person, but her lively personality was vividly illustrated by her mother’s stories and pictures.

The cruising community is tight. During a day of waiting and hoping and willing the best, comfort and courage was found in a circle of friends. Most of us have never met in person; we know each other through connections built over years through email, blogs, Facebook groups, chats. My fellow cruising mothers span the globe, and are a fierce tribe. And we know: this could have happened to any of us.

Public tragedy like this brings out the worst in internet rubbernecking, with sanctimonious speculation about what should have been done. The anonymity of the internet makes some people think they can pass judgement, making assumptions in the absence of information and facts, and taking pious comfort as the unaffected about what they’d surely have done differently.

That has no place here. This is simply a tragedy, a terrible accident. This could have happened to any of us.

My circle of boat mamas, gift that they are, melt our courage together in a well compassion and love for our friend. Each of us does what she can: we have mamas who have worked in SAR, who are communication whizzes, who are genius hacks, who have personal experience with public tragedy and know what proactively needs doing.

This could have happened to any of us. 

Google tells me that a typical funeral in the USA costs about $10,000. But what no Google search can tell you the many OTHER costs. Like how much wage disruption can hurt a family unable to work while mourning, which the Family and Medical Leave Act won’t do much to help. How the stress of financial strain compounded on grief takes a toll on families. How they need to keep their lives normal, while coming to terms that it will never be the same. Please help if you can:

With gratitude for my tribe: Amanda, Amy, AnneBrittany, Cindy, Diane, Karen, Laureen, Laurie, Nica, the Victorias, and the rest, you know who you are. Today we dilute our wine or coffee or water with salty tears, and hold our boat kids a little closer.


Photos (c) Cidnie Carroll

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