The “Caring Buddy” met me in the front room. She was so warm, I cannot remember if we hugged, but I felt like it was warranted. I then asked her quietly, how I could most help during my visit – laundry, cleaning? She suggested I just visit and chat.

After huge hugs with his wife, I went to see “the Skipper” in their bedroom. It was quiet, with classical music playing softly. The lights were soft, it smelled fabulous, and was as clean and neat as his boat always was. I stood by the side of his bed and touched his hand. After miles and miles under the keel, where he had captained the racer and I had been watch captain, helm, bow, and backup navigator, our roles were changing. At times, he gripped my hand hard. His wife stood on the other side of the bed, caressing him.

We reminisced about sailing stories, she and I talking about shared reminiscences, and experiences  we’d each had with him. At times, a smile flickered to his lips when we told stories that touched him.

“The Skipper” at the wheel.

An even longer term friend had visited a few days before. Different sailing stories were told, different smiles appeared. A rum and coke with lemon might have passed his lips.

He napped, and his wife and I sat in the living room, with a “man-cam” silently letting us know when he was peaceful and when he was restless. We reminisced some more, and talked about the future – what was to come for him and for her.

He woke just before I was getting ready to leave. A few more stories, one more smile. He had a few sips of water, and then puckered up for a kiss from his wife. It was time for me to depart.

Like many home hospice visits I have had with friends and relatives, there was a deeper shared intimacy that this special time allowed. A chance to express thoughts and feelings, through words and touch, differently than we had in our previous shared lives. A special time to connect, quietly, peacefully, and lovingly.