Guardian Angel

Saturday , 17, December 2016 11 Comments


As our family navigates through cruising life, I believe we have a guardian angel looking down on us and guiding us through each challenge and success.  I do not believe the “chance” encounters we’ve had with complete strangers and good Samaritans are merely coincidences, but instead signs from above….

My mother passed away on August 9th, 2008 when she was 57 years old and I was 27 years old.  The day she called me in September of 2007 when she had just received the news of having a mass on her pancreas began a series of events that forever changed my life.  My life in Beaufort immediately came to a halt and I spent the next year on family medical leave traveling back and forth between Atlanta and Beaufort and essentially becoming my mother’s advocate at the hundreds of doctors appointments across the country…..searching and hoping for something that would extend her life.  Unfortunately no treatments exist for stage 4 metastatic pancreatic cancer….something that still surprises me to this day with all the money poured into cancer research and treatment.  My mother never gave up hope until the day she died and I never believed the end of her life was inevitable until that same day in August.  She was determined, compassionate, strong and hopeful which shined through during her battle with cancer and left a lasting effect on me.

I am forever grateful that I made the decision to put my life on hold (job and marriage) and spend this time with my mother.  I was with her when she died and spent the next years of my life in a fog of grief.  Waves of grief still pass over me, as I believe they always will, but the fog is gone and I gained some clarity to move forward in life with purpose.

This entire experience taught me a number of lessons.  For one….Life is short.  You never know what the future holds and you certainly do not control the future.  My mother taught me not only to dream, but to dream BIG and make your dreams a reality.  She loved to travel and she loved her family.  Her strength and encouragement is what guides me daily and I do not believe that I could have made this jump of faith without knowing she was with me….shining down from heaven and leading the way.  Material things and possessions do not matter because in the end only experiences and memories is what is left.


I wish I could talk to her daily, hear her voice, and feel her embrace.  Instead I feel her embrace when the wind blows around me and I see glimpses of her in my children’s eyes.  

I also feel her presence in the complete strangers who have been so generous and kind to us as we have approached some tough situations, such as our grounding in Shallotte or the floods in Little River, SC.  I believe they have purposefully been placed within our path.  And most recently we crossed paths with one of mother’s old teaching buddies while in Vero Beach, Florida and I felt the comforting presence of my mom while we reminisced about her life.

We do not know where are cruising path will take us, as we continue to have issues along the way (yes, this is just part of boating).  However, one thing I always know, is no matter the path we take a special guardian angel not only is protecting us along the way, but also cheering us on.  I love you Mom.


11 thoughts on “ : Guardian Angel”
  • Alyssa says:

    It seems that so many of us have our boating angels with us ?

  • David OBrien says:

    What a heart warming story … Your Mom sounds like a wonderful person and she certainly raised a great and adventurous daughter! Have a great Christmas and stay safe.

  • Barbara Garmon says:

    I will never forget the night she called me and told me the sad news. We went straight over to be with her and when we left she phoned you. There is no doubt that she is watching over you and will continue to protect you. I miss her as well and would love to give her a call and catch up.
    . I am fascinated with your adventures and wish you much happiness. Merry Christmas ? to all of you.

    • Laura says:


      It is so good to hear from you. Thank you for your kind words…I know many people miss her. I hope you have a very Merry Christmas.

  • Susan Wesley says:


    Yes. I do believe she is watching over you.
    I think of what she went through in her pain and suffering and no one deserves that ever!! I know she is watching over her grandchildren and smiling from above.

    I am still driving her 2006 Acura and it has saved me from a serious accident when a car pulled out in front of me as I was driving 45-50 mph. The brakes are amazing and I was able to stop before T-boning a young man in his new corvette who might not have survived.

    I pray for you, Bryan and the girls daily.

    Love you,

    Aunt Susan

  • Marcia - s/v SpiritWind says:

    I can relate so much to this post. My mother too passed away from pancreatic cancer after a short struggle of 4 months, at the age of 60. This was a large reason for us to start on the path of our cruising dream. We just moved aboard in August and hope to take off with our two boys (5,4) in a couple years, and I know she has been and will be with me helping us through!

    • Laura says:


      I’m so sorry for your loss…it is such a nasty and awful disease. Best of luck with your preparations and I hope we may cross paths in the future!!


  • Hello, Laura and Bryan,
    I know the pain of losing a mother to pancreatic cancer. My mother was diagnosed in December of 2006 and died on my father’s birthday in March. Fortuitously, I had just retired from teaching in July and was able to support them. As you have observed, “…life is short….” and every day is a gift. BUT, the reason I wanted to contact you is that we were the Stinkpotters (we don’t fit Bryan’s stereotype of Stinkpotters!!!) anchored behind you in the harbor before you moved to a ball. I was playing around with shutter speed settings on my camera and captured some pictures of the girls swinging! I would be happy to send the photos to you. All the best to you and your family on your journey!

    • Laura says:


      I appreciate you sharing you story as well since you know how devastating and quick this cancer can take a life. We would LOVE to see the pictures. You can email me at We are still in the harbor but hoping to start moving again soon. Again, thank you for reaching out to us!