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July in a Nutshell: Family Loss, Getting Covid and Learning to Slow Down

This week has been really tough. In fact, this month has been tough. Yes, we had an amazing trip up to the Delta, enjoying the heat and reaping the benefits of our hard work, but it ended abruptly and for all the worse reasons. As we motored through Steamboat slough, we got a call we had been waiting for, the dreaded news from Jack’s parents that his grandpa, Pap Pap, had passed away. He had been struggling with complications from lung cancer and the last time we saw him (which thankfully was quite recently when we went for a family wedding at the beginning of June) he was depleted, hurting and uncomfortable. While visiting with Pap Pap at his farm, he looked at Jack and told him this was the last time they would see eachother. We shrugged it off and told him not to have that attitude, but we knew he was right. It was a short visit, but we are so grateful that we were able to see him after being California bound due to the pandemic. Upon hearing the news, we felt stuck being up a distant river, far away from our home base. We were sad, but also slightly relieved since we knew he had been suffering. He was clearly ready to rest and be reunited with his “baby-girl” who we knew as Granny.

After rushing to make it back to our slip, we packed our bags and were flying across the country within 48 hours. Staying only long enough to make it to the service and hug the family, before we knew it we were flying back to the West coast. It was a whirlwind, to say the least. Coming back to the Bay Area meant it was back to real life, which we had not been a part of since we left for our Delta trip three weekd prior. There was tons to catch up on. Our list included laundry, emails, groceries and an extensive backlog of client work for our business. I was already 3 weeks behind on releasing my next video, but that was the least of our worries. So, we did what we do best - hit the ground running. We replaced batteries, tackled all our monthly wash-down clients and stocked our empty fridge. The day after arriving home I got a call from my mom, telling me that my grandfather, who lives in Argentina, had been hospitalized after having trouble breathing from a series of respiratory related issues. For anyone who may not know this, while many countries are allowing flights and travel, Argentina has once again gone into a strict lockdown due to the extreme lack of Covid vaccinations and high COVID deaths. Prior to the lockdown, many people were flying to the US just to have access to the vaccine. While there are still so many Americans who are choosing to not get vaccinated, others are flying half-way around the world to get theirs. Having such a strict lockdown meant that no matter how much my mother (or the rest of my family) desired to be beside my grandfather in this difficult time, this was absolutely not an option. I did my best to stay strong and reassure my mom that there is very little she could do that wasn’t already being done, whether or not she was able to be by his side. Of course, it still hurts to be halfway across the world, while your loved one is in such a fragile state.

Only 4 days after landing back in the Bay I started feeling under the weather, tired and slightly congested. The next morning, I was full-blown sick. Although I never registered a fever, I had all the nasty symptoms of aches, tiredness, snot, etc. At first I kept my hopes up, telling myself I probably had a cold but as it progressed, deep down I knew. Despite being vaccinated, I knew I had exposed myself through the several plane rides and the funeral service. This was the most exposure I have had since the start of the pandemic, but I never thought twice about it because there were important family matters to be more concerned about. On day 5 of my symptoms I got a Covid test, which was the first time I had left the boat since getting sick. Then, it was back to bed, nervously awaiting my results. Luckily, by the time I went to get tested the symptoms had lessened, I felt slightly more human. I tried to keep myself occupied, distracting myself by finally finishing our Youtube episode that was weeks behind, though I kept finding myself checking my email to see if my results had come in.

On day 5, I got my results - Positive for Covid 19. My heart sank, although I already knew in my gut that this was the case. Just minutes after reading my positive test results, I received another disappointing email about a specific work-related opportunity I had been waiting to hear back about, which compounded the emotional state I was already in. I called Jack who was running around washing boats (doing a good job of staying away from my snotty self) and he assured me everything would be fine. He finished up the job we was doing and went to stock up on provisions so we could isolate. When we got back to Gemini, we untied the lines and pointed our bow towards Clipper Cove, our safe haven on the Bay. Arriving to the cove just before sunset felt like a huge weight had been lifted from my chest, bringing a slightly positive end to a really shitty day. Jack and Fathom did their best to cheer me up - Fathom swatting at flies and Jack making burgers on the grill with handmade buns. Their efforts were not in vain, as I finished off my day with a smile on my face, despite my many tears throughout the day.

One of the most conflicting emotions I feel about getting Covid is a feeling of extreme privilege. I am lucky enough to have access to vaccines and health care. I am privileged to work for myself and have a part-time job who has been extremely understanding, flexible and supportive. I have sick pay to help ease the financial hurt of missing yet another weekend of work, even when it’s now been over a month since I’ve clocked in at my part time job. We have the resources to put healthy, nourishing meals on the table to assist me in my recovery. I am blessed to have a partner who has taken care of me, listened to me cough and blow snot from my nose every 30 seconds and who has still managed to keep our business afloat amidst the chaos. I have a snuggly, spunky kitten to keep me entertained and begrudgingly accept all the kisses that I cannot give to Jack as I don’t want to infect him. I have a beautiful, comfortable and mobile home that easily allows for us to quarantine in the best circumstances, in a beautiful setting. My conscience constantly reminds me that I very well could have had way worse symptoms and could end up in the hospital. Life feels fragile, vulnerable and so very precious.

Starting out the month with losing Pap Pap was rough, but I found comfort in believing that he lived a long, full life. That he got to see his children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren grow up and that in a way his passing was his reward. It was a reward for over 40 years of sobriety, for living life the way he wanted and smiling on anyone who crossed his path. He succeeded in this game called life, living into his 80’s. Even coming to terms with my own grandfather’s deteriorating condition, I remind myself that he too has lived an amazing life and he is lucky to be receiving the best care possible considering the circumstances. They both have created family legacies, memories and values that will live on through the next generations. Reminding myself of this brings me peace, amidst the chaos and hurt the world is experiencing right now. What doesn’t settle with me is how many people have lost loved ones way too soon because of this pandemic and that most of them were not able to have their family by their side. So many have yet to leave their mark on the world and I am reminded that I could easily be in their shoes, as we could all.

Looking back at the sequence of events and how much has happened in such a short time span, it’s a good wake up call to remember the importance of slowing down. The world moves at such a fast pace these days, making us feel worthless if we take time off, choosing rest and self-care over productivity. We jumped from life on the move up in the Delta, to flying thousands of miles across the country, then back head first into running our own business, not stopping to absorb and process what we were going through. Getting sick threw us another curveball, forcing us to slow down. After receiving my test results, we knew we needed to press pause on our other commitments and the best way we know how to disconnect is by anchoring out. If we had stayed at the dock, Jack would have been tempted to continue tackling any work he could perform safely without having human contact. Being on anchor, we are allowing ourselves to sleep in, eat well and rest as much as we need. It has also given us the time we needed to process our emotions and digest what just happened.

A week later, I am luckily feeling much better and can happily say I feel like myself again. With my energy levels returning, I already find my brain nagging at me to be productive. Of course, after having spent yet another week resting and not working, it will be very hard to not get roped into the overdrive midset to try and catch up. This is one of our biggest challenges as young entrepreneurs with many lofty goals - learning the value of rest and how important it is to slow down every once in a while. Work, appointments and projects will still be there waiting for you once you are ready to tackle them with full force, but it’s not worth your wellbeing to sacrifice time for yourself just to check one more thing off your list.

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