One spectacle grander

You can barely see them, but that's Jeff, Matt and Drew at the bow of Holland America's ship, the Volendam, sailing Alaska in June 2000.

You can barely see them, but that’s Jeff, Matt and Drew at the bow of
Holland America’s ship, the Volendam, sailing through Alaskan waters in June 2000.

“There is one spectacle grander than the sea, that is the sky; there is one spectacle grander than the sky, that is the interior of the soul.”Victor Hugo

Jeff and I love to travel, and cruising has become our favorite kind of vacation.  Needless to say, we haven’t been able to take a cruise for some time, and we have no idea when we will be able to go to sea again.  Nevertheless, we still dream and talk of taking another cruise, and hope it won’t be too long before we are able to set sail.

Meanwhile, Hugo’s quote reminds me that I’ve had a front row seat to a spectacle grander than the sky or sea this year; I have seen Jeff fight through and survive one crisis after another, giving me the most intimate glimpse of the interior of his soul that I have ever seen.  Although neither of us chose this particular part of our journey together, and it has been full of scary risks, suffering and exhaustion, it also has been a beautiful testimony to his strong foundation of faith, the power of prayers from so many who care about us, and his courage and determination to stay with Matt and me as long as he can.

I hope this year is full of wonderful sights for you to enjoy, whether at home or abroad.  Amid all the sights of land, sea and sky, I hope you will keep an eye out for those surpassingly grand views of the many beautiful souls whose paths will cross yours.  Bon Voyage!

One year ago today

Lose sight of the shore

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Wow, Julia, that IS a spectacular revelation! Thank you for sharing this visual and this concept.

    • Thanks Susan, I’m glad you like it!

  2. Susan

    A very meaningful tribute to Jeff. I so wish the reasons to write one had been different. You and he did so much together in the time you had. It’s a reminder to the rest of us not to put off the joys in life until later. I’m sorry you didn’t get those retirement years together to add to the many memories. He fought so strongly and with such determination.

    • Susan, I met you just before Jeff’s initial, brutally sudden hospitalization and diagnosis, and your acquaintance is one of the bright spots in my memory of what was otherwise a very dismal time. Thank you for being with me through the hardest years of my life! ❤ I hope in time we will have occasion to visit together in happier circumstances!

      • Susan

        I feel like we can actually do this in 2021, after we get our vaccines. So much I will not take for granted, like “oh yes we will get together sometime.” I was thinking that while reading your comment today about the Corcoran Gallery closing. I think I only went to it once, and it wasn’t my favorite, but still there are so many places that we assume we’ll be able to get to, not to mention people we’ll be able to see.

        Several years ago a relative was nearing the end of a cancer battle, but seemed to have some time left. I was going to another family member’s major celebration, and I thought, I’ll go visit next week and tell her about the celebration and bring pictures, since she can’t go herself. Then I thought, no, the guests at the celebration will ask me how she is. So I went to see her, we had a truly wonderful time, with some other family members also there … and she passed away the next day. It would haunt me if I had missed that visit.

        • Susan, I’m so glad you were able to visit with her and have the memory of that wise decision. Of course we can’t second guess ourselves about such things, because we do the best we can. But it’s good when these things work out. The first friend I ever lost to cancer, at far too young an age, was much worse off the last time I saw her than I was willing to admit, to myself or anyone else. I was convinced she would beat the cancer. When I got ready to leave her after my visit with her in the hospital, she asked me to give her a hug, which she normally didn’t do from her hospital bed. I remember being puzzled and I guess she saw that, because she cheerfully added “I think hugs are very good for our health!” or something like that. I realized later she probably knew (though I did not) that it was the last time she would ever see me. These sort of memories really stay with us, don’t they? Thanks for being here!

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