It’s with much consternation and grief that I regret to announce the passing of my beloved companion of these past 9 and a half years, Mary Neale.
Mare, as she preferred to be called, passed away this past Monday on April 20, 2020, after a long battle with Lupus. Her most recent flair started the day before Thanksgiving and never seemed to let up. It was one high-grade fever after another.
Mare and I first met on September 8, 2010, at Jack’s Lookout on Marco Island. I know the exact date because Mare would often remind me. Days later, I would continue on with my sail on throughout the Keys and Mare was only too happy to join up with me for a long weekend on the boat.
She enthusiastically embraced her “camping on a boat” weekends as she was apt to call it. She loved engaging all the sailing characters she came across and trust me when I tell you that there are some weird ones out there, but Mare never met a stranger she didn’t like.
In the beginning, Mare would always make it a point to refer to me as her “guy-friend” and that she was my “lady-friend.” I suppose that she didn’t want anyone to think that she and I were in a serious relationship. Now see where that got her 9 and a half years later!
Running along the side of Mare’s leg is an ugly scar, the result of a boat ramp mishap when she was an adolescent in high school. She would later refer to it as her badge of honor.
For you see, it was while on the mend in the hospital that Mare would run errands on behalf of the nursing staff, enthusiastically wheeling her wheelchair throughout the hallways. It was this experience that led her to pursue a career in nursing.
Mare and I later traveled together on a number of road trips. These included the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Blue Ridge Mountains, and an assortment of National chess tournaments, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Jacksonville, to mention a few. Later on, her ailments became a real thing and our road trips became a thing of the past.
On my Facebook page are a few postings with links to my sailing blog if anybody might be interested. Mare was a good part of that experience every step of the way and I would frequently reference her. But you won’t find any pics of Mare because she claimed that she was not a “two-dimensional character.”
Mare brought great joy into my life and I will forever cherish her memory. Grief is a real thing and it tears at your heart. Companionship is what makes relationships tick and she was my companion every step of the way.
I don’t know where I might go from here, but I do know that Mare has made an indelible impression on my soul and I’m hoping that I might meet up with my “lady-friend” someday.