Heel to heal

by Ed Muir, Owner, Southern Herb Company

Editor’s Note:  Ed Muir is a sailor who participated in our Lake Norman Hospice Regatta back in June.  He was a crew member aboard “Temptress”, the Luder 16 that came in 1st place in the Cruising Class division.  Afterward, Ed wrote a beautiful recap of the event.  He went to the Regatta thinking the weekend would be all about sailing.  He left the weekend having experienced far more.  To read more of Ed’s blogs, click here.

Temptress, the boat on which Ed Muir was a crewmember

Temptress, the boat on which Ed Muir was a crew member for the LN Hospice Regatta

Last weekend was very special.  I accepted an invitation to crew on a sailboat in a local benefit regatta.  The boat’s owner spent the last four years restoring this antique day-sailor, originally built in 1947, and it’s now looking even better than it did when it first rolled out of the boatyard.  I hadn’t raced in nearly 40 years, but was honored to have been asked.  The boat is the same class as mine and as I am quite familiar with it, it wasn’t a random invitation.  I went into this event and (I am happy to say) came out of it with the mindset that “it’s all about the boat” and determined not to let the racing part get in the way of enjoying it.  This beautiful boat did garner its share of “gawkers”, as my skipper proudly referred to them, and they, too, had a genuine interest in its story. 

The race was hosted by a local yacht club, its two-story un-airconditioned frame structure sitting on a point at the entrance to a bucolic cove on our lake, around which all its facilities are located.  People, families, enthusiasts, and even world-renowned sailors come here to sail, to live sailing, and to share it.  Its stony driveways are unmanicured, its paths worn and natural as they wind through the woods along the shore, its service buildings simple and functional, yet it all looks kempt.  A double-breasted blue blazer would be about as rare here as seeing a power boat in the cove.  Topsiders, those white, rubber-soled leather shoes preferred by sailors were about the only consistent piece of uniform.

The charity benefit was for Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman.  I hadn’t realized that this was a nationally coordinated regatta alliance with 25 independent races and that it raises over $1 million annually for local hospice organizations. 

What I hadn’t counted on, since I knew only a handful of people there, was the human connection.  I enjoyed meeting the people – other sailors, the volunteers, the hospice staff, and others who hosted such a wonderful weekend event.  On Saturday evening, there was a Circle of Light memorial ceremony.  We each took turns lighting our candles and reflecting on whomever we chose to remember.  Some memories were more recent than others and drew fresh tears from an unending well that never seemed to fully dry on the face.  One young woman, full of grace and dressed in a Kelly green dress (odd apparel indeed for a regatta), memorialized her husband.  Later, after dinner, she rose to speak and shared her incredible story; a story that included love, support, and caring from the hospice people with whom she had shared a good chunk of her life over the past year.  She was resolute in her presentation, genuine and deeply appreciative of their impact on her life and that of her husband.

But what struck me most about this woman was her heroism.  I am tired of hearing that we don’t have real hero figures in our world anymore.  If you want to see heroes, turn off your tv sets, your computers, put down your cell phones and books, and simply look at those around you.  This woman, not yet 30, has lost a husband, the father of her only child.  She is strong.  Having gone through this incredible ordeal over the past year or so, and all the pain she has suffered, she is committed to raising her daughter as a single, working parent.  She unselfishly volunteers her time to speak at events like this to promote the virtues of hospice care and its dedicated people and what they have meant to her and her family.  She is the real deal when it comes to heroes.

We won our division’s race that weekend.  The local hospice won big-time with record donations.  The sport of sailing and the spirit of sailors won, as is always the case at a well-run regatta. And I won, having sailed a beautiful boat and having met some incredible people and one young woman in a green dress whom I now see as a real-life action hero.

Explore posts in the same categories: advocacy, fundraising, hospice, Hospice & Palliative Care Lake Norman, special events, spiritual care

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