~ Inspiring Correspondence ~
From: Charles Badoian
Date: 12/02/05 05:41:34
I am sitting here in Lisbon Portugal in a hotel looking out at the sea while checking email. I saw your sig in this message and decided to get distracted from this tradeshow I am working at by going to your site.
Just some background. I am 32 years old, turning 33 next week (I will be in China at another event). I own a corsair 31 that I keep in Buzzards Bay. Grew up in Greece for nine years, water baby basically. And my better half and I plan to live the dream.
But here is the weird part. I am sitting here in a business suit in an executive lounge, and I am crying. Your tribute to your son brought me to tears, and I can not remember the last time I cried. It made me feel for you and yours. And also reminded me of my own mortality. It is incredible that just by visiting a site, and reading about someone's life, I feel like I know you, and you have changed my frame of reference on life. Your website made my day, week, probably month.
We are thinking of driving our boat to FL after the holidays. If we make it, Hilary (better half) and I would love to buy (or make) you and Bill dinner.
Thank you for a great morning.
To: Charles Badoian
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 12:49
Subject: Tears in my Coffee
Hello my Sweet Charles,
Thank you so very, very much for sharing with us your thoughts and heartfelt feelings. It is always so very wonderful to hear from others how our website has made an impact on their lives.
I began the website to chronicle our adventures from landlubbers to sailors aboard September Sea. When our son became an avid sailor and live aboard... then died so young... well, as you have seen, the website has evolved into many things. Incredibly, it all relates to the same premise: Whatever it is in life you really want to do... DO IT and DO IT NOW. It has inspired so many to write as you did. We could not be more elated to be honored by having a positive impact on the lives of others.
Life is so precious and can be so very short. Reading your words I got so overcome with emotion; the tears were streaming down my face and the next sip from my coffee cup was a rather salty one. How apropos.
Bless your heart. We have received so many emails similar to your own, from people all over the world who are touched deeply in their souls with the life and untimely death of our beloved son Bj; and the love shown by his family and friends. Your email, however, is so deeply moving because you are so close in age to our son. The fact that you are sitting in Portugal and on your way to China soon... yet took time to write us... also reminds us of our busy globe-trotting, though very thoughtful son.
You and Hilary have an open invitation to come and see us. We'd love nothing more than to wrap you both in our arms and love you with all that we are. We are a most loving family... and we've learned our family is all over this world. The names may be different, but the heart and love is the same. The world truly is a small place... and you truly are another son, your wife another daughter. All mothers have hundreds of children, it's just the unbridled nature of motherhood.
Thank you again for opening your heart and allowing us entry into your world. I've got your email address added to my list so I won't miss any correspondence from you. Whenever you are going to be down here, please give us a call.
My very best to you and yours, Charles. Be safe on your journeys, even though you have yet another mother watching over you.
Charmaine (& Bill) Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~
Epilogue: Charles and his wife Hilary showed up in Boot Key Harbor April 2010. This happened quite by accident, they ended up here after being caught in a storm. They did not know we lived here. I'll be sure to give you the entire story soon.
It is one of incredible coincidence. They are living here now. Cannot wait to tell you all about it. Fascinating and riveting.
Some things are simple meant to be.
My Sweet Jane,
You are a blessing to me, my Sweet. A blessing to us all. I cannot wait for Breighan to meet you and Tracy. I'm really looking forward to something I thought I might dread. Now it is not the case at all. I'm so happy to hear from you, so happy you're of a mind to remember the great things about CJ and what he means to you. That will never change as long as you live. Those memories are yours forever.
I talk to Bj all the time. I do. How could I not? So many people try to hold their feelings in and believe that once someone has gone, they are gone... period. I just don't believe that to be so. Your love for CJ is eternal, Jane. Nothing can ever take that away from you. Never.
You were there when CJ transitioned. You held fast to his wishes. Your loss was a gradual one, a painful one, and of which I cannot imagine. Of course it was a shock and devastating to hear that our vivacious and robust son would not be seen upon this earth again... but you, so young and in love... you watched the love of your life wane to another plane. I must say I truly admire your strength.
Sure, we all have our melt-downs. I am no different. The times when your chest feels like it can be no heavier, that you cannot breathe. The ache which tears your body apart from the inside out and makes your head throb like a kettle drum. I go there from time to time, but I tell myself that Bj would be very hurt seeing me that way. He would blame himself. I would not want that for him. Nor would you want that for CJ.
We will be strong for one another, Jane. Your sister is having a very hard time with Christopher's passing, and it is very evident her pain is two-fold: she aches for you as well. Both of you should be so proud of what you've done for him. I can only imagine the love he had for you as you sat by his side throughout his terrible, and most tragic illness.
My heart cries for you, my sweet. I see it in my daughter's eyes, the pain inside someone so very young. It is very hard and will not get easier as time goes by. That's why you must love your CJ with all your heart and keep on loving him. Keep talking to him. He will be with you through the years as you find love again and live a different path... but you will always have that incredible bond with him, so many people on this planet never get to know that kind of love.
Charmainism: "You don't have to lose the same loved one twice. If you don't continue to talk about them... that's essentially what you've done."
I am with you. Always.
Please stay in touch with me, Jane. I loved your email, it did my heart so much good to read it. When I read to Bill that you called Christopher "CJ," it was as if we both knew it already. I know that sounds crazy, but it's true. The connections between your CJ and our Bj continue. I believe there are more connections... and I embrace each and every one of them as they surface. As you confided in me what you thought when you were there at the casting... I too thought those same things, until I talked with Tracy.
We both were thinking the same thing. Our boys can play now and get to know one another. Knowing they are together and sharing this moment with their combined families gives me great joy. There is no greater gift than
Your mother is wonderful, Jane. I'm sure she loves your cat. Yes. Because "Koot" is yours and CJ's. Now "Koot" is like a grandchild, of that I can be sure. There is nothing that makes a parent sadder than to see their children suffer in any way, and there is nothing to make a parent happier than to see their children happy.
There will be happier times. In the meantime, we shall enjoy the blessing of getting to know one another and sharing a most treasured time together. There will be more times together, Jane. We shall all make sure that each one of us will deal with this emotional roller coaster safely and sanely. Oh yes, we can! CJ and Bj would not want it any other way.
We love you,
Charmaine (& Bill)
Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~
From: Jane Copeland
Date: 02/05/06 18:16:30
Subject: Re: Chris & Jane and Tracy
Well I have been sitting back and hearing and reading about the wonderful e-mails you have been writing, and now I get one, and how sweet it is what you have written.
Looking at your website and reading about your son it amazes me how similar your son and Chrissy really were. I called him Chris "CJ" but everyone else in the family called him Chrissy.
The day of the reef casting as I looked around at all the people I said to Tracy "This is so unfair you I are the youngest here." I figured that most people were there for Parents and Grandparents that had passed away, and thought that Chrissy would be with a bunch of old people. Then we met you and as sad I felt for myself I then was sad for you knowing that you were in the same boat as me...losing someone so young. But now that I see how much in common "BJ" and "CJ" have in common I hope they will be having fun together at sea.
It has been a few days past a month since Chrissy passed away and I have good and bad days which I know is to be expected. I just can't believe somedays that he's gone. I have moved back home with our parents for now and Chris had a cat who he loved very much. I was afraid when he passed because my mom hates cats. So I am happy to say that "Koot" the cat is happy in his new home and my Mom hugs and kisses him everyday. It is so nice having the cat around because he reminds me of Chris.
Well I look forward to seeing you again on the 22-23. I know it will be a sad day but having sweet people like you around it will make the day a little easier.
--- Charmaine <email@example.com> wrote:
> Hello there, Bradley
> Thank you so much for your kind words. Meeting Jane and Tracy was just
> delightful. Tracy had come out away from the main area where people were,
> and I was standing out there as she came nearby. She was standing in the
> sun... I hollered over to her that it was shady where I was.
> As Tracy walked over to me I could see she was such a lovely young lady.
> She reminds me much of our daughter, Breighan, who just turned twenty-two.
> As I looked at her, I thought to myself, so terrible death is. I turn fifty
> years old this month and losing our son has been so very hard on us all, but
> especially those far younger than my years... it is heartbreaking to watch
> these youngsters as they endure such pain.
> I asked her who she was there for and she told me about Chris. It really
> did my heart so much good to hear her tell me of what your son's wishes were
> for his Memorial. Knowing that Bj would feel the same way, I immediately
> felt a kindred spirit in Tracy. We embraced as the tears fell from her eyes
> .. we both were crying. Who would know what a joy crying can be when shared by someone who knows of the same pain.
> My heart goes out to you, Bradley. So sorry for the loss of your son. You
> too know what exactly how I feel, of that I am certain. Jane is a wonderful
> person, I can only look upon her and have a feeling as to what your son
> Chris was like. He must have been an incredibly special individual. She
> walks with her head high, as she has lost much, yet it is evident that her
> beloved memories of Chris keep her going strong.
> My husband and I look forward to meeting you in February. It will be so
> good to see the girls again. I promise you a great big hug, Bradley. We've
> got much to be thankful for, in spite of our great losses... and somehow I
> already feel you already know of that of which I speak. We haven't lost our
> minds, Bradley. We have endured probably the greatest pain ever felt by any
> parent. Each day that passes is one day again to make peace with ourselves
> as we would have given our life to ensure our children will live on.
> But it was not to be.
> I'd like to dedicate one of my "Sunrise to Sunset" photos to your son. If
> you'll kindly give me his full name and dates of birth and transition, I would love to do it. Let me know which picture in the gallery your son would have loved most, and it will be my true pleasure to dedicate it to his memory.
> Please feel free to write me anytime, Bradley. Thank you so much for making
> contact and sharing such wonderful thoughts.
> Take care.
> Much Love,
> Charmaine (& Bill) Aboard s/v September Sea
> "Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~
From: BRADLEY L JONES
Date: 02/02/06 19:26:29
Cc: Jane Copeland; Tracy Copeland
Subject: Re: Chris & Jane and Tracy
HI Charmaine & Bill:
Thank you for your email and such nice comments about Jane and Tracy who are both wonderful people. We all look forward to seeing you in Feb.
Your comment about crying is so true. It means a great deal to have someone to cry with it is a cleansing experience and one that I am sure will continue for a
very long time.
Your tribute to BJ is really moving your son loved all the same things that Chris did and your son seemed to really love the ocean and the creatures in it. For me
the randomness of these events is what I deal with every day. There is a book "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" by Harold S Kushner which examines this issue and others which I found helpful.
Your offer to dedicate one of your sunset pictures is so nice and we are all excited about it. For 30 years I have been traveling to the Cayman Islands and I
spent three years in the islands and grew to love the wonder of the sunsets which you have captured on your website. I am sure that being on the water and seeing God's wonders you must feel very close to your son and that is very meaningful.
Christopher Anthony Jones was born on Dec 3rd, 1969 in Montreal and passed away Dec 29th, 2005 he was 36. We will carefully study the sunsets and make our selection.
Thank you for your kindness and understanding and to you and Bill my sincere sympathies on the loss of your wonderful son.
Charmaine <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
From: Randy Johnson
Hi Bill and Charmaine,
Well we are off to a fast start on 2006....does not seem possible! I left a message on your on your guest board, but thought I'd write to your email too!
I really like the reef dedication for your son..........I can't think of anything more appropriate! I have told my wife to just toss me into Tampa Bay or the Gulf of Mexico and I'd be right at home!
I hope you all are doing well..........the healing process is slow....but quickens as the time goes by...such loss in a year is great but in one day is........I don't know what!
I saw in your last entry that someone named Floyd had contacted you............It can only be the one and only Floyd Fouch!!!!! I would very much appreciate you either sending him my email address or you sending me his..........I would love to talk to him..........
Take care and stay in touch..............Randy J..........
From my sister Antoinette
January 2, 2006
Thanx for sharing this Charmaine. I'm so happy the Celebration of Life website you created has helped others so much. Thanx for helping to impact the lives of your friends, Wolfi and Vera. Sounds like they needed all the positive support they could use. My prayers and heart go out to them. Love you. Stay as sweet and genuine as you are.
Got a beautiful letter from my German son,
Wolfi (Wolfgang), wanted to share it with you. His sister, my German daughter
Senta, only 24 years young, was buried yesterday (our today). Senta went to
sleep and simply never awakened. So much like Bj's death. Thought you'd love to
see how our dealing with Bj's death has affected others so positively. There was
a time when something like this would have sent so many, even Wolfi, so far, far
away, perhaps in a deep dark depression. Not yesterday, and not today. He is
Wolfi uses my the phrase I coined some time ago and use as a signature ("Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!") as he speaks to me of his feelings and how the funeral for his dear beloved younger (and only sibling) went so beautifully.
This family... us... we... and even those of you not related, yet who have helped in some way from the sidelines... YOU - US - TOGETHER - WE have aided in changing so many people's minds in how they now think and view someone's transition. It used to be to them something impossible to handle... but from our lead, they have found peace and solace, even in the face of such a seemingly unbearable and heavy loss of someone so young.
THANK YOU, each and every one of you. We love you with all our hearts. People from all over the world write to our website and tell us how viewing the "Celebrations of Life" have changed them in some way... all totally positive. What an amazing thing this is!
May the New Year bring each and every one of you...
all that is truly wonderful... and then some!
Charmaine & Bill
Aboard s/v September Sea
"Life's a Gift... Unwrap It!" - C~
Dear Charmaine & Bill,
Can't wait to see you both,
While I was on vacation in Jamaica (a much needed gift from my Shannon and her sister Jai) with my cousin Shannon Dewith (now McCormick) and her mother, my father's sister, Juanita Smith Dewith Barton... I met a very sweet young man from Germany who recently was blessed with his cancer's remission. His name is Wolfgang Bachmaier and he lives in Munich. He and I became instant family. He came all the way from Germany to visit me at my home in Petersburg, Illinois. Since that time he has lost his mother, a woman I befriended while in Jamaica and helped her to cope with her son's illness. Matter of fact, my job was to keep Madeleine "Maddie" busy and entertained so Wolfie could enjoy his newfound freedom after being bed-ridden for so long with his cancer. My Aunt Juanita didn't know why I was spending so much time with "strangers" and not with her and Shannon. Shannon told me later that she told her mother, "Charmaine needs this, Mom. She's helping them and she was born to help others." Shannon was so right. Wolfie is my "German son," something I knew would happen from the very first time I met him. I took one look at him and asked him how long had he been sick. He was astonished at how much I knew about him... even though it was the first time we had ever met.
Wolfie lost his mother, Madeleine Bachmaier, some years later. And then we lost my son, Bj, and my mother on the very same day, Memorial Day 2005, even though they were thousands of miles apart. It was simply meant to be. Then I got an urgent email from my sweet German son,Wolfie:
From my German Son, Wolfi:
death of her beloved daughter. Just as she could
It nearly destroyed her, the worry. Now we know...
for our Senta.
From: Wolfi Hotmail
Date: 12/30/05 16:24:59
Subject: Very nice funeral
Dear Charmaine, my sweet American Mom!
Today was the day we burried my sweet little sister Senta.
It was such a nice funeral, she would be proud of us!
So much people were there today, I think there were more than 150 people, who said Good Bye to her. We, the family, friends, relatives and collegues of the insurance company she was working for.
It was very cold (about -15 ° Celsius), but the sun was shining, the snow was glittering.
Her casket was over and over covered by flowers and plants, the grave (we have a family grave where my Grandparents and my uncle Rudolf are burried) was also covered by blossom leafs and flowers and torches were burning.
The ceremony was beautiful, we had a nice man who said some words, very sad and also very positive words. Andy and me, we have chosen the music and I made the remembering Paper (I sent to you in word doc file).
At the grave the people were crying and said good bye by throwing blossom leafs.
Of course, it was very sad to see me and all the other people crying, but now she is flown away to wherever she will be now, we only put her body fix feet under. I know that she is with us now.
On Thuesday, we said good bye to her in the inner circle. My dad and Birgit, Andy with his parents and Vera and me, we were in a room of the funeral company. Senta was lying in the casket and we could see her again and say good bye. I don't know, if you know that?
It was also the first time for me.
In this very sad moments I realized that she was gone, she IS dead and she will never come back.
There was lying her dead body, she was so cold, her soul was already away.
It was a very hard moment for my dad, for Andy and for me, but looking back it was a good decision to see her again. I was very afraid of it, but it was good for all of us.
I send you the paper I have made for her (in german so called "Sterbebild")
The picture below is the outer part of the four pages paper. We have photographed the picture in the front last winter, it was so mystical, I like this picture, where the sun (the light of Senta) is shining through the trees. The words on the left side mean:
"People, you loved, are just like stars, they are shining after their vanishing."
My dad love these words.
The picture below is the inner part. The words on the left side mean:
"Where words are missing to describe the indescribable,
where eyes are failing to see the unbelievable,
where hands cannot catch the inconceivable,
there is only one certainty that you will live in our hearts forever."
On the right side you can see her picture and her dates.
It was so beautiful, Charmaine, and I knew she had loved it.
Your German son is very strong with the help of my sweet Vera.
Don't be worry: Life is a gift, unwrap it!!
I wish you a happy new year and happy sailing!!
Bussis to you and all people around you!!
Your German son Wolfi and Vera, your German daughter.
I love you
~ Inspiring Correspondence is lovingly dedicated to
the Memory of my beautiful German daughter,
Senta Bachmaier ~