Friday, January 18, 2013

In Honor of My Captain

I want to Thank you for coming here today to celebrate the life of Ted Ryder.   Ted affected so many lives and as we are here today he would not want us to be sad but to be strong.

Ted not only was my partner, he was my best friend and the Captain of sailing vessel “Serenity”. Most know me by Shirl or Shirley but I was honored and would like to be remembered as Ted’s First Mate. Ted and I shared so many wonderful times together and I will forever hold them dear to my heart and let his wisdom continue to inspire me.  Ted inspired my world and I know his inspiration did that for many of you.  
Most of you have followed our “Blame Buffett Blog” that Ted wrote so well and took so much pride in sharing our sailing adventure.  Today if he was here he would be sharing some of what we experienced over the past few months.
  • He might share the story of the lecture he gave me regarding my boat hook. He stated we would use our boat hooks consistently while traveling over 40 locks through the Canal Systems and we need to take care of them. We were only a few locks through when Ted lost his boat hook overboard. He just smiled and said at least we have yours
  • He might share while crossing New York Harbor to Cape May on our 1st 24 hr overnight sail that I was ill with an awful sinus infection, so I wasn’t much help. Due to the wind he had to go out on the bow to assist with reefing in the mainsail to reduce speed. It was pitch black, very windy and the boat was heeled over on the starboard side. Since safety was always 1st, Ted’s life-line was attached, life jacket on while holding to the boat every step of the way. After the mail was reefed, he entered the cockpit, seen I had big tears in my eyes and with a slight grin he stated that I needed to go and put my big girl panties on (which was often his response when he thought I showed any fear).
  • We learned quickly they are three types of Sailors.  There are three types of sailors: those who’ve gone aground; those who haven’t, but are going to; and liars. I remember when we went aground. I immediately had the look of fear and grabbed my life jacket. Ted grinned, looked at me and stated. Babe, I’m not sure you need that. You can step overboard, it’s only 2 ½ feet. Of course I then felt kind of silly and went on to make lunch while we waited 3 ½ hours for the tide to come back up so we could sail on.
A week or so ago he was sitting on the bow of the boat while I was at the helm.  The wind was blowing, the sky a bright blue, and the water was calmly passing the hull as we traveled. We later spoke about our recent experiences and how we would not have had them if we had not come on this trip. It was not all easy, but it was an exceptional time. As you might imagine, there were some pretty amazing hurdles and successes we achieved. Our lack of experience early on created moments that we were sure more seasoned sailors just calmly dealt with. I have always believed that you learn from accepting challenges and you grow from them. I sure would not have wanted to miss a single second of it. So while writing down my thoughts, I decided that it may be very simple...not complicated. Maybe we were sailing for pleasure and the personal growth that comes from accepting challenges. Maybe we all need to take the helm more often... After almost three months living and traveling on Serenity I do not feel like a newbie any more. There are always challenges in life, and what we were doing is no different. Actually, we were turning into seasoned boat people ourselves. Living your dream is worth the risk, the effort and it makes you a different person.  Our lives were literally changed by it.  Ted would tell you to go for it – just do it!
When talking Ted and I realized that we had crossed many paths during life enough though we did not meet until a few years ago. We would laugh when people often commented that they could tell we must have been together for a lifetime; because we felt that way too.  We felt we were better people due to our life experiences and thought that was why it was easy for us to love one another. I often shared when seeing the love and closeness he shared with his children was why he was so attractive to me. Ted’s unconditional love, affection, gratitude, respect, honesty, trust and his great sense of humor were only a few reasons I loved him. His gratitude often reminded me why I was happy to do things for him in the first place. I loved the way he believed in me and that gave me the courage to accomplish things that I might not have in the past. He loved my children and grandchildren just as much as I loved his. We spent much time laughing when sharing stories regarding them and even though we loved what we were doing, we missed them all so much and dreaded the holidays.
Today is a chance to say thank you, Ted, for the way you brightened our lives, even though God wanted you back too soon for our hearts. I’m sure we will all feel cheated that you were taken from us so unexpectedly and yet we must learn to be grateful that you came along at all. It’s only now that you are gone that we truly appreciate what we are without, and I want you to know that life without you is very, very difficult. We have all despaired at your loss over the past week and only the strength of the message you lived through your years will afford us the strength to think of moving forward.  The message of living each moment to its fullest; to catch each ray of sunshine possible; to spend as many hours of each day possible, grateful for the beauty of this earth and incredible friendships we are blessed with.  You spent each day being unafraid to conquer the unknown and live life to its fullest and I’m so blessed to have been part of your journey. 
If I could talk directly to Ted, my love, my heart - I would say:
This may be A day to celebrate your life and say goodbyes; But it's not final. Every day I'll celebrate in some way, just by the virtue of how you shaped my life and the absolute incredible fortune of the relationship that we had.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Margaritaville state of mind……………

Ted and I sat on the bow of Serenity on December 21st and spoke of the wonderful adventures of this trip. We laughed about lessons learned and loved the awesome cruiser friends we had met. Ted always encouraged me to blog more but knew it was very difficult for me. Even though I journal every day I am private with thoughts close to my heart. With pleasure that evening he reminded me of the recent interview with David Anderson. David had also encouraged me to get more involved in writing for the blog. While this is only part of what Ted and I spoke of that evening, it is also the reason the blog has been very silent. I apologize and do know that Ted would want me to blog. So here I go…….

Rich red, bright gold are some of the colors we have seen with the beautiful skies and glistening water along our travels. The colors that often reminded us of our busy life’s back home. We knew that after all the beautiful colors faded plants and trees would hibernate or die as old man winter creeps in. Just one of the reasons we loved this journey. We were leaving old man winter behind. We seem to never focus on the beauty of each season and what it brought with it. Serenity had given us that pleasure. We traveled from Lake Erie and then down the ICW and enjoyed all it's beauty. Swirling leaves that fell from trees, we often imagined it the letting go process of the hustle and bustle of life back home. Cleaning up the sailboat at the end of a days travels reminded us of what was important. Ted always stated if we took care of Serenity, Serenity would take care of us. Each time we left her I always kissed her and Ted would smile and say that is why she treats us so well.

This year Thanksgiving was difficult for us. The last few years we had hosted dinner with children and grandchildren in attendance. This year we missed that very much. Thinking about Christmas around the corner often saddened us. While we would be alone for the holidays, we planned to go home in January.

Our day was wonderful just like every other day since we left on our adventure. We did boat chores, walked, spoke with cruiser friends, and had a delicious Mexican dinner I had prepared for us. We then watched a movie and spoke with children before turning in that evening. As we laid in the v-birth we spoke of how excited we were head to Fort Meyers the next morning. We would wait for a weather window and head to Key West. Ted smiled and stated New Years Eve we would dance on the bow of the boat and it would be a memorable night that we would never forget. Little did I know that this night would be our last night and one that I would never forget.

I am so very sad and do not have the words to explain how tomorrow is never promised. Although I experienced just that.  On December 22nd while in LaBelle, Florida, Ted suffered a heart attack and cardiac arrest stemming from undiagnosed sleep apnea.  While I called 911, I am so thankful for cruiser friends from Polar Pacer and Sanuk that assisted during this traumatic time. I do not know what I would have done with out them. While family and friends bowed in prayer to plead for a miracle on Christmas Day, Ted suffered an anoxic brain injury and passed on December 27th.  While my journey with Ted has ended for a short, Ted’s new journey began in his Margaritaville state of mind that he had spoke of in previous post. 

January 5, 2013 family and friends honored Ted by celebrating his life at The Covington Madison in Kentucky where his daughter Sara and Tommy were married and his son Justin and Libby had their wedding reception. If you knew Ted at all you would have known that he preferred this non-traditional way of honoring his life oppose to a funeral service. Details were posted at

Ted’s obituary written by his son Justin may be viewed at  
I spoke with David Anderson, for 'The Sailing Podcast'” recently and ensured him that Ted would want the recent interview released as planned . You can now find that interview at .

Ted previously stated Jimmy Buffett's music can take you out of the rat of the hamster wheel...away from the nine to five grind, and place you on an island, under a palm tree in warm tropical breezes, with the smell of salt in the air.  I wish to think that for a brief moment that the songs we played will help me escape the ordinary life...leave it behind, and imagine what it would be like to continue life with Ted, my captain, my love just like a Jimmy Buffett song.

Ted and I sailed...sat under palm trees with our toes in the sand, smelled the salted air and listened to Jimmy Buffett’s song BoatDrinks. We relaxed, looked at the stars, and enjoyed our thoughts and down time. We wanted to be sun baked, salt encrusted, and have some fun. In short I want to think that Ted has an extended stay in Heaven’s Margaritaville and is waiting for me.

I guess what I am trying to say is I Blame Buffett for the fact that Ted is now singing his own song.

Sail on Ted, Sail on... Although I miss you , I will see you again some day.                                

Thank you for your thoughts and prayers,  

My next post will be what I read at the celebration for Ted.

 Ted and I in Panama City
(Picture taken by Ted's daughter Sara)
 Ted with son Justin and daughter Sara

 I can hear Ted saying this to me each time I read it.
(Thanks Dianne)