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Old 14-02-2021, 10:11   #1
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a captainís dying wish

hey guys and gals,


iím trying to wrap my head around something and would appreciate some constructive input or perhaps even just an ear. iím wrangling with a sailor-friendís dying wish.

we all know how, traditionally, captains proudly go down with their shipsÖ well, this is kind of one of those stories, or it will be:


i met Sam (not his real name) a few years ago, after having inquired about the boat he had (how it sailed, performed, held up). we became friends and sailed a few times, shared a few good times, but eventually lost touch. (background story: he had hoped we would become a couple, but he wasn't for me; so i let it go.)

a time passed, and quite recently he contacted me, told me he has only months to live and just wanted to leave with the feeling that everything is ok between us ("yes, we are good, no worries").
he also told me that his dying wish is to take his boat out for one last sail, pull the plug, and go down with it.

i believe i understand the principle behind this wish:
he was on his own and in command of his yacht (quite contently) for so much of his time living aboard; and he is literally losing everything to death so is surely striving to 'pass through' while holding onto the feeling of living life (and dying) on his own terms, in his home, on his boat.

that said, i find myself ruminating over a few things:

one is how he hasnít mentioned those friends who may want to say goodbye or be able to grieve. surely, it would mean a lot to many (including me) to meet him there, have a drink with him, make a toast, shed a few tears and perhaps even see him offÖ(or at least be invited to do so); but, as far as i can tell, this is not a part of his plan. and thatís ok, but it is true that there is a little something missing in this departure for those people who care or have cared about him.

beyond this, i feel uncomfortable about the scuttling of a boat (agm batteries and all) and adding to the huge pollution problem in the sea. the environmental pollution, and especially marine pollution, is a huge issue for me (yes, iím that gal who picks up the garbage - even gave up buying meat, fish and dairy for myself, for the planet - staying thin is quite easy folks!). so i guess this is me who has a problemÖ, but then, it is a good question: isnít there cause for feeling responsible for the environment (for one's most treasured environments, especially), even on one's last day?

and then iíve got this other unsettling thought:
how he is placing more value on going-down-with-his-ship than the value of leaving a legacy of some kind, some trace of having lived a meaningful life.

yes, iím brave enough to call it out: Sam has a few friends, not just me, who would cherish his lovely sailboat to the moon and back, not to mention the slip he owns with more than 15 years on the lease. it is not that i have my sights on his boat, in particular. actually, there is this young, sailing guy at the marina who has had a real tough time in life (lousy parents, a drunken mother). he lives partly in a car, trying to run a detailing business...; and yes that boat could be that unexpected gift, that huge act of kindness that changes this young manís entire existence, forever. maybe, maybe not, but perhaps worth a try?

the only way i can understand Sam's choice: he never had kids and, as i observed firsthand, wasn't the type who jumped to help strangers in a jam. so maybe he did not get much of this kind of positive feedback in his lifetime: you know, the intangible reward that comes when we do things for others without expecting anything in return. my feeling is that actions like these never really took root in him, (which, curiously, is definitely one of the reasons for which he never found his way into my heart).

yes, i can accept his dying wish and will ...because thatís what we, the living, do. after all, it is not me who is dying. but, this means that i cannot suggest to him how gifting his boat could leave a beautiful memory of him and/or change someone's life in huge way; nor can i mention how, for many, polluting the planet is unforgivable in this day and age. nor can i mention how it might be nice for him to allow his friends an opportunity to make a final toast, share in his loss, even in a small way... all these suggestions would be me passing judgement, and that's a no-go.

all this is ok, nothing i cannot get over... perhaps i just needed to air my thoughts with a few souls who are willing to contemplate with me a bit. after all losing friends (life) is tough, and, like them, we are all finite.

thanks


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Old 14-02-2021, 10:27   #2
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Re: a captainís dying wish

I just hope he has not made a mistake in telling you of his plans.
I think it's a good end for a boat as well. I dare say I am considering where my boat will move on to......having dealt with selling a boat recently I think the bottom is preferable to the humanity I dealt with in that process.
Just answering the op, I really do not care to argue these points or deal with the pure hatred of those that disagree.
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Old 14-02-2021, 10:38   #3
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Re: a captainís dying wish

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I just hope he has not made a mistake in telling you of his plans.
I think it's a good end for a boat as well. I dare say I am considering where my boat will move on to......having dealt with selling a boat recently I think the bottom is preferable to the humanity I dealt with in that process.
Just answering the op, I really do not care to argue these points or deal with the pure hatred of those that disagree.
true, humans really are bad at humanity.
and yes, we do get hurt along the way.
you make a good point here: there is an element of self-preservation in sinking one's boat

thank you for your input.



and please, for those reading responses like this one, let's keep this cordial and keep in mind how there is rarely a "right answer".
thanks!
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Old 14-02-2021, 10:46   #4
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pirate Re: a captainís dying wish

If it's not laying on the bottom of the Med it'll be chopped up and put in a landfill somewhere.. the battle against pollution was lost the minute the first layer of glass went into the mold..
However it will do more good on the seabed than a landfill.. creatures can make a home in and on it.
You could risk suggesting he donate his boat, how well that would be received only you know from experience..
Otherwise.. Let him go his own way..
Personally I feel all this saying farewell and grieving stuff is a feel good factor for those remaining so they feel better in themselves and little to do with the dead.. a chance to exchange crocodile tears over someone they may have considered an a$$hole in life, something I have seen when people I know have died suddenly wrapped round a lamp post.. or something else slower and the family arguing over the oak dining table etc on the way to the crematorium.
But then.. I'm not a big softie and many have said I have a block of ice for a heart.
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Old 14-02-2021, 10:47   #5
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Re: a captainís dying wish

Woofgal,

There is a whole lot to unpack there. And trying to offer advice is a field of landmines.

Fools rush in, here, hold my beer.

First a word if caution, he did you no favor by dragging you into this mess. He may be upset and hold hidden resentment over the failed relationship, and this may be a way to resolve his perceived abandonment. Lots of “Maybes” there.

His boat is less than one or may two containers dumped in the sea. Get some sense of proportion. Not your job.

You gave no sense of time frame or alternatives so I will state an assumption then you can correct me if I am wrong. I am guessing he has some stage 4 inoperable cancer and the “normal” course of events would be for him to go into hospice and die a rather miserable death there. The hospital will bleed his bank account dry and he will have no assets left to leave to anyone. So he might as well scuttle his ship.

It is unlikely he has worked all this through. If you feel up to it you could sit with him and talk, let him work through what he wants, if he can. It is likely to be grueling on you. It is also possible/probable that this well meaning effort will end poorly, in a fight/split. That is a real risk.
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Old 14-02-2021, 11:02   #6
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Re: a captainís dying wish

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Originally Posted by boatman61 View Post
If it's not laying on the bottom of the Med it'll be chopped up and put in a landfill somewhere.. the battle against pollution was lost the minute the first layer of glass went into the mold..
However it will do more good on the seabed than a landfill.. creatures can make a home in and on it.
You could risk suggesting he donate his boat, how well that would be received only you know from experience..
Otherwise.. Let him go his own way..
Personally I feel all this saying farewell and grieving stuff is a feel good factor for those remaining so they feel better in themselves and little to do with the dead.. a chance to exchange crocodile tears over someone they may have considered an a$$hole in life, something I have seen when people I know have died suddenly wrapped round a lamp post.. or something else slower and the family arguing over the oak dining table etc on the way to the crematorium.
But then.. I'm not a big softie and many have said I have a block of ice for a heart.
hey good man!

block of ice heart, huh? isn't this what men with super soft hearts say...?

yes, i will let him go his own way - Live-and-Let-Die style - not up to me to do otherwise. as much as i'd like to see him donate that boat to someone who would appreciate it, it is not my place. and quite frankly, he might not understand the point of it.

and on humans: i too have seen (first-hand) how the oak dining table can become that love-trophy for folks to fight over. material goods carry memory, and with memory, emotion. for many, it is not easy to see this simple relationship...

as for funerals and crocodile tears: i've got a thing with grieving. i think about those i've lost loooong afterwards.... as i've always avoided funerals (have been to three in all my years and one was when i was a kid), i've often asked myself about the beneficial role they must play, for the living. maybe there's something to funerals? or maybe we should have more dying-parties?

actually, sometimes, i think that it would be nice to know when a simple goodbye is actually the last... getting caught off guard all the time hurts

thanks good man!
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Old 14-02-2021, 11:03   #7
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Re: a captainís dying wish

Seeing the future with my 90-year mother right now, I've already expressed this "way to go" with my son. I've never been suicidal, but I don't want someone wiping dribble off my chin and calling it a good day. Let him know you're available to listen, but please don't judge (or make righteous opinions about) his choices. Yes, people would love a dead person's possessions but they are only theirs to receive, not to take. Wish him peace.
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Old 14-02-2021, 11:18   #8
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Re: a captainís dying wish

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Seeing the future with my 90-year mother right now, I've already expressed this "way to go" with my son. I've never been suicidal, but I don't want someone wiping dribble off my chin and calling it a good day. Let him know you're available to listen, but please don't judge (or make righteous opinions about) his choices. Yes, people would love a dead person's possessions but they are only theirs to receive, not to take. Wish him peace.
Yes. We are going through this right now, and worse, far worse, with multiple family members. While one does not want to get to the point where someone has to wipe the drool from their chin, and to be blunt, that is better than other things that have to be cleaned up, often one does not really have a choice to be the care giver or care receiver. One can wish for certain things to happen but sometimes life does not give one the choice...

Seen this too many times. Sometimes we treat our pets more humanely than people. A pet that is suffering has its suffering ended but a person is just left to suffer until death. I have seen too many people who are just existing, not living, and worse, suffering in their existence.

I get the guy wanting to go down with is boat. It is a part of him.

Flip side, why take it with him? It really serves no purpose to destroy the boat and seems a bit selfish. Seems like one could find a worthy person or couple to donate the boat and slip too which is what I would do in this case. Give the boat a chance. Give the people a chance.

But it is his boat to do with as he pleases. And better he goes out without suffering and/or being drugged into a coma. If he is lucky enough to be drugged into a coma until death...

From time to time on CF, there are reports of single men, never heard of a single woman, who disappear at sea. I often wonder if they deliberately went to sea to die...

Sure better to go that way than suffering in a death bed in a hospital or nursing home.

Later,
Dan
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Old 14-02-2021, 11:25   #9
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Re: a captainís dying wish

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Originally Posted by hpeer View Post
Woofgal,

There is a whole lot to unpack there. And trying to offer advice is a field of landmines.

Fools rush in, here, hold my beer.

First a word if caution, he did you no favor by dragging you into this mess. He may be upset and hold hidden resentment over the failed relationship, and this may be a way to resolve his perceived abandonment. Lots of ďMaybesĒ there.

His boat is less than one or may two containers dumped in the sea. Get some sense of proportion. Not your job.

You gave no sense of time frame or alternatives so I will state an assumption then you can correct me if I am wrong. I am guessing he has some stage 4 inoperable cancer and the ďnormalĒ course of events would be for him to go into hospice and die a rather miserable death there. The hospital will bleed his bank account dry and he will have no assets left to leave to anyone. So he might as well scuttle his ship.

It is unlikely he has worked all this through. If you feel up to it you could sit with him and talk, let him work through what he wants, if he can. It is likely to be grueling on you. It is also possible/probable that this well meaning effort will end poorly, in a fight/split. That is a real risk.
wow hpeer, i didn't have these perspectives. thanks!

first off, yes. he's hoping for a miracle, has a year max but likely a few months. he is getting in-home care now, can manage it financially, is quite lucky in this way as the girl caring for him is a childhood friend who is a (fantastic) professional, and a good friend who needed work (got unemployed by covid).

second off, true: he didn't like the fact i didn't want to make a life with him. i had not considered resentment before, but guess it could be a possibility. i'll have to think on this. for those who have never had a meaningful story and deep connection with another (which seemed to be his story), it must be tough...

so maybe this is why he wants to go it alone in the first place..., i wonder.

and maybe it is the idea of sailing out there that is keeping him alive?

as for talking to him... for the moment, i ask how he is and remind him of a memory here and there, of a few good times. i feel simple kindness toward him so am sticking with this, for now.

and you are right, he may not have thought everything through yet. losing everything is losing everything.

thank you, hpeer
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Old 14-02-2021, 11:39   #10
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Re: a captainís dying wish

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Originally Posted by gamayun View Post
Seeing the future with my 90-year mother right now, I've already expressed this "way to go" with my son. I've never been suicidal, but I don't want someone wiping dribble off my chin and calling it a good day. Let him know you're available to listen, but please don't judge (or make righteous opinions about) his choices. Yes, people would love a dead person's possessions but they are only theirs to receive, not to take. Wish him peace.
hey gamayun (long time no see!)

you've been thinking a lot lately, given your mother surely. having lost my folks some years ago already, i see so many our age who are dealing with the decline and the slow dying.

it is a terrifying thought to be an invalid, to be dependent, to be pathetic. i agree entirely. in this case though, i'm hopeful that i have some sailing friend out there who would be willing to sail me out one dark night and sail back in the morning without me... although this hope is not aligned with any rules out there, i'd truly appreciate having a friend like this

as i mentioned to hpeer, i feel kindness, simple kindness in regards to this friend and am not going to trespass into his dying space with any opinions i may have. this is why i came here, to talk with everyone. (and i thank this space and everyone here.) i think that most would agree that part of the joy of living comes from being able to say, I did it my way.

thanks girl, for your perspectives
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Old 14-02-2021, 11:52   #11
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Re: a captainís dying wish

If your friend is asking you to get involved in his suicide, the last thing you should do is discuss it on an internet forum. There is unfortunately a significant minority of the population who are against legal suicide, characterized by Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch and his book "The future of assisted suicide and euthanasia". It is best discussed quietly among immediate family and/or partner.
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Old 14-02-2021, 11:53   #12
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Re: a captainís dying wish

It sounds to me that he is trying to convince you to get more involved with him. He is giving you the option to save him, if you choose/dare.
The reality of drowning in a cold ocean, by yourself, is really not appealing. It would be a horrible way to go.
Perhaps a weight attached to ankle, then shoot yourself in the head and your body falls overboard would work, not really sure, but at any rate, whether the boat goes down with you, or doesn't, you still die alone, with no connection to that boat, and as you mentioned, the pollution in the sea would be terrible, with gas, oil, plastics, fiberglass, and all manner of other things, to say nothing of the waste of a good boat.
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Old 14-02-2021, 11:56   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannc View Post
Yes. We are going through this right now, and worse, far worse, with multiple family members. While one does not want to get to the point where someone has to wipe the drool from their chin, and to be blunt, that is better than other things that have to be cleaned up, often one does not really have a choice to be the care giver or care receiver. One can wish for certain things to happen but sometimes life does not give one the choice...

Seen this too many times. Sometimes we treat our pets more humanely than people. A pet that is suffering has its suffering ended but a person is just left to suffer until death. I have seen too many people who are just existing, not living, and worse, suffering in their existence.

I get the guy wanting to go down with is boat. It is a part of him.

Flip side, why take it with him? It really serves no purpose to destroy the boat and seems a bit selfish. Seems like one could find a worthy person or couple to donate the boat and slip too which is what I would do in this case. Give the boat a chance. Give the people a chance.

But it is his boat to do with as he pleases. And better he goes out without suffering and/or being drugged into a coma. If he is lucky enough to be drugged into a coma until death...

From time to time on CF, there are reports of single men, never heard of a single woman, who disappear at sea. I often wonder if they deliberately went to sea to die...

Sure better to go that way than suffering in a death bed in a hospital or nursing home.

Later,
Dan
Well there is the option of..
Buy me a little 21ft coffin boat and you can have my big boat in exchange.. let's face it, it's a one way trip on a nice day and seaworthyness is far from a priority..

I think Hypeers idea he may be trying to lay a guilt trip is a possible.
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Old 14-02-2021, 12:03   #14
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Re: a captainís dying wish

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hey gamayun (long time no see!)

you've been thinking a lot lately, given your mother surely. having lost my folks some years ago already, i see so many our age who are dealing with the decline and the slow dying.

it is a terrifying thought to be an invalid, to be dependent, to be pathetic. i agree entirely. in this case though, i'm hopeful that i have some sailing friend out there who would be willing to sail me out one dark night and sail back in the morning without me... although this hope is not aligned with any rules out there, i'd truly appreciate having a friend like this

as i mentioned to hpeer, i feel kindness, simple kindness in regards to this friend and am not going to trespass into his dying space with any opinions i may have. this is why i came here, to talk with everyone. (and i thank this space and everyone here.) i think that most would agree that part of the joy of living comes from being able to say, I did it my way.

thanks girl, for your perspectives
I like the idea of him gifting the boat to the kid, though it's his choice to make. Other than that, going out the way he wants might be more about making some statement about taking a voyage into the afterlife (if he's inclined to think that way) and to paraphrase Sinatra, his "way". Death is waiting for all of us and can be patient or in a hurry depending on circumstance and choices made by ourselves or others. I'd prefer to perish doing something I love rather than waiting for the inevitable end in infirmity. It would also be nice to have those you love and care for (and reciprocally) share the passage. The memories we leave with others are what we do and how we share when living. Beyond that, life is rarely neat and tidy or organized and death even less so. Listening to your friend and offering your thoughts is ok too. It may be part of why he confided in you in the first place.
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Old 14-02-2021, 12:07   #15
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Re: a captainís dying wish

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Originally Posted by dannc View Post
Yes. We are going through this right now, and worse, far worse, with multiple family members. While one does not want to get to the point where someone has to wipe the drool from their chin, and to be blunt, that is better than other things that have to be cleaned up, often one does not really have a choice to be the care giver or care receiver. One can wish for certain things to happen but sometimes life does not give one the choice...

Seen this too many times. Sometimes we treat our pets more humanely than people. A pet that is suffering has its suffering ended but a person is just left to suffer until death. I have seen too many people who are just existing, not living, and worse, suffering in their existence.

I get the guy wanting to go down with is boat. It is a part of him.

Flip side, why take it with him? It really serves no purpose to destroy the boat and seems a bit selfish. Seems like one could find a worthy person or couple to donate the boat and slip too which is what I would do in this case. Give the boat a chance. Give the people a chance.

But it is his boat to do with as he pleases. And better he goes out without suffering and/or being drugged into a coma. If he is lucky enough to be drugged into a coma until death...

From time to time on CF, there are reports of single men, never heard of a single woman, who disappear at sea. I often wonder if they deliberately went to sea to die...

Sure better to go that way than suffering in a death bed in a hospital or nursing home.

Later,
Dan
Hey Dan,

i've seen you around for a long time. haven't ever responded to your input. but you make some very good points here:

"One can wish for certain things to happen but sometimes life does not give one the choice..."

so true, life catches us off guard, gives us a crushing blow. it happens, so often, and eventually to all of us.

and you question choices as if to ask how much of them we actually get in life. could determining our lives in this way be a response to a fundamental need? the feeling of trying to outrun the storm, getting ahead of the possibility of being put into a coma... could this be traced back to our fundamental survival instincts? seems likely, from this perspective

and i had not applied this choice question to the fact that men disappearing at sea... Was this what happened in that film, All is Lost: all was lost in Redford's mind before the container hit him, the rest was just the unfolding?

disappearing at sea definitely has a way of taking us from here to wherever (the infinite) with much grace. and it can easily be viewed as a return to the source too

my guess is that doing a poll on here asking this question would confirm your thoughts.

and i guess it is just unfortunate that a beautiful boat, one that could provide beautiful stories for others, is often part of the plan. personally, if it came down to it, i do hope i'll find that friend who helps me in such a way so that i can donate mine...

thanks Dan!
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