Today it doesn't seem to matter that one crew member's menu for the week varies between red meat, red meat, red meat and red meat. It's just not that funny today.
Our Captain received THAT call the other night, the one all mariners dread when on the boat. He was informed his mother-in-law, who has been ill, was in round the clock hospice care and that she could pass at any time.
As is the case most often, the timing of this was horrendous. He received the news just after we had left Houston, Texas, beginning what would be a 3 day trip to New Orleans. Since we were out of phone range he was unable to call to comfort and support his wife, except for a quick call on the satellite phone to say he would be home as quickly as possible.
These dreaded phone calls are terrible for people in all walks of life, but to receive news like this while at sea is just the worst. With a small crew of 6, half of which are asleep at any given moment, the Captain sits alone with his thoughts in the wheelhouse for 12 hours a day. It's agonizing. I speak from experience.
Times like these always drum up memories that are better left forgotten. I was on my way to Albany, NY on a boat when my Dad died. On my way to the Dominican Republic on a boat when my Mom passed. I was a bit luckier for my Father-in law as I was on a boat, but in port in Florida when that dreaded call came. I made it home for all 3 funerals, so I guess that's something.
As I write this, Captain Jack has had to wrestle with this harsh reality for the past 3 days, just waiting to get into port.
My stateroom is situated in very close proximity to the Captains. Each night at midnight when he gets off watch, as he's closing his door for the night, he ALWAYS sticks his head in and says something to me, maybe a wise crack or two, or just a goodnight.
The last 2 nights, his door closes and no words are spoken, he's alone with his thoughts, and I'm sure sleep is hard to come by.
As we all do, he'll get through this and move on.
But right now, it's tough.