Island Blog – Gone

When a someone very close is gone, all that is left is a big silence, as if the rooms stop breathing too. In this case, the ‘gone’ is a husband of 48 years, a father to five, a grandfather to 10, a brother to one and a friend to thousands. Nothing he ever did went unnoticed. His high profile life meant he touched on many others, affecting their decisions, choices and opinions. He had plenty of those and was certain he was right. Sometimes, perhaps oftentimes, his core beliefs were like solid boundary walls, impossible to scale. Nonetheless, he made us all think from the other side of what we might have believed to be fact.

I have a million memories. In equal amounts I have been furiously distant, happy to leave him inside his fortress and then right beside him, looking out across the wild expanse of life. I suspect this is marriage in all its honest and raw truth. Nothing worth its salt is consistently simple, not if it has mettle and fire in its belly and our life had plenty of both. When I think back to my rebellious youth I roll my eyes. I was heading off piste rather a lot. In fact, I am not sure I was ever on piste. Then I met him and he seemed able to play both like music, ready for nonsense and lunatic forays onto unexplored slopes and then sliding easily back onto the path well travelled. And, always, guiding me, holding my hand, yanking me back to safety, always my rock. Even when he could no longer do the things he used to be able to do, his very presence made me feel safe. I’ve no idea how I’ll brave the next bit of my life, but I do remember all he taught me and I will always be able to stop, breathe, remember and get the hell on with it.

Rest in peace, you old sea dog. I’m going to miss you for the longest time, even if I can, now, move the furniture around, go where I please, talk LOUDLY on the phone, guffaw at random, turn the tunes up at 7 am and eat celery sticks without having to go to another room for the crunching. The hole you left will probably get bigger. I have no idea who I am without you. It will be an interesting journey for sure and it begins now.

48 thoughts on “Island Blog – Gone

  1. Hi Judy,

    When you first introduced me to Bren and the house on my school holidays it felt like another world. Richard always seemed to be on the periphery of my time there, in the background. I saw many things at Quinish that gave me a picture of the man, but he was an enigma, always at sea. I was fortunate enough to sail on the Kittiwake that first summer and used to watch him much like my own father and wonder what he was thinking. He had so much depth in personality, and a mystery about him much like Bren I think.

    My time on Mull with your family in those years are unequivocally the fondest memories of my 47 years. I have to say to you Judy that you were a beacon of light to me, and although there is a passing I have to give my wholehearted recognition to you. Your strength, compassion and spark for life is a rare thing,

    I hope you know that.

  2. Dear Judy.
    My thoughts are with you &your family as you navigate through your loss and grief.
    We have never met but I take much solace from reading your thoughts.Thank you for writing.
    I have been away hence the delay.
    Be kind to your self.
    Love Di

  3. I am sorry to hear about your loss. I absolutely loved reading your book; I bought it whilst visiting Mill and often draw upon it when feeling overwhelmed by life! You are an inspiration.

  4. Dear Judy, as the only other person I’ve ever met who was expelled from Primary School, I’m soo sorry the gap left must be massive. I sat by you as you prepared yourself to sing that amazing solo at Ru & Jen’s wedding – you blew everyone away, pls keep writing if you can, it gives incredible perspective & gratitude, 💓

  5. You have shown amazing strength Judy over these past years. You still have that and it will keep you going. Your family and friends are there for you so use them. They want you to. God Bless you brave lady. Love, Pat xx

  6. So sorry to hear your sad news. I hope you are as well as you reasonably can be, and are as supported by your family as you will be to them.


  7. Everything changes, and although the changes are often expected they still hit us like a bolt from the blue. Deep within, our emotions are shaken and it takes time to recover. Be kind to yourself as you reflect on all that has gone before and all that is still to come. You have helped me so much over the years, I’ m sure others , including your fabulous family, will be waiting to help you.

  8. My deepest sympathies to you Judy
    And highest regard for all you have managed
    I think you do know who you are without your sea dog and I will be wishing a smoother road for you – at least for a while

    Your everyday life will take on different perspectives and there are still the restrictions of Covid to contend with

    Be gentle with yourself and take your time

    Every possible good wish

    Michelle Sinclair
    Sent from my iPhone

  9. Your writing is moving, profoundly honest, and says much about what an intimate relationship can be like: he was a lucky man Xx

  10. Judy, I was so sad to hear about Popz but he will be with you on every breath of wind that chooses you to gently stroke your cheeks as it passes by. I remember cooking his Steaks To exacting Standards at Calgary all them years ago, and the fun Kerry and Roz with Me and Frank the chef !!!! Crazy times and good old Popz came to pour us from the mish into some form of transport to convey us back to Dervaig after a wee day out, and we insisting on him dropping Us of at the Bear Pit !! Happy days indeed they were. Take care and what they are worth my thoughts go out to you and that amazing, rather larger now, family of yours. X

  11. Judy thank you for writing it so beautifully now that he’s gone on his journey. Mine went too after 48 years and with 10 grandchildren so I echo your footprints. Love is a wondrous thing and it’s ALL about love. Be gentle with yourself. Wendy Sedgwick

  12. Dear Judy, I am sure you will steer an interesting course from the other side of this storm, and all you have shared over the years will help keep you strong. All those young ones will remind you of him and keep you joyful. Thank you for your wisdom, insight and fun.

  13. Oh my love, such an adventure behind you and inside you…look at what you achieved together and how many lives you touched as a pair and as individuals too. We are wrapping our hearts, arms and thoughts around you….eat that celery, move the furniture and as you step out into the next part of this unbelievable journey know that the old sea dog remains with you in ways which are distant and heart rending but in some ways closer and more loving than any of us can begin to imagine. We send so much love to you all xxxx

  14. Darling Jude
    My heart aches for you.You’ve had a hard old road to walk these last few years and you’ve shown enormous courage and loyalty when you must have been at the end of your tethermy admiration for you knows no bounds. I send you bags of love and a huge “virtual “ hug. Will speak on the steam telephone very soon.
    Janie xxx

  15. Aw, so sad. I have read your posts for a long time now, you write so beautifully and so honestly. It will be so hard for you, and yet a relief at the same time, and that is such a complex set of emotions to handle. Take care. x

  16. Oh! Dear Judy!
    Your old Sea Dog gone! Charting his own Course on new waters!
    Sending much love to your tender heart and arms stretching across the many miles, in a long huge bear hug.
    Many your Beloveds wrap you in their warm love in the unfolding days to come.
    May many arms gather you up
    A candle burns at my Hearth for you and your Family
    MezzieCrow xxx

  17. Courage, Judy. You will never lose the love you have received and the love you have given. It takes time to grieve, and that is absolutely ok. You will be in my prayers on your journey.

  18. My condolences I have been following your stories and life for many years now and take some strength for the future from your followers. Take care. I have visited your island many times and hope your community supports you kindly. Take care.

  19. Oh Judy…….will be thinking of you and the rest of your family at this sad time. It must be SO hard for you to not only grieve but also to the huge change in your own life after being such a devoted career for so long. Sending much love and many prayers.❤️❤️❤️

  20. You will be OK, Judy. Take your time, enjoy the memories and remember all the good times. You are your own person and you have your wonderful family who love you! Take care. X

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