This morning I wept. I cried while looking at my beautiful son’s face, knowing that our dear friend, Jack Conrad, would not be able to see his sweet smile and hear him laugh. I cried, knowing that my husband and I would never again feel Jack’s arms around us in his loving hug. I cried, thinking that the many days of sailing we shared are forever memories and we won’t be able to share those sunny sailing days with him in the future. I cried, feeling sad for my husband to lose a very dear friend and father figure.
We found out last night that Jack Conrad, our dear friend, passed away on Friday, October 21st. Jack was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in October 2008. AML is cancer that starts inside bone marrow, the soft tissue inside bones that helps form blood cells. The cancer grows from cells that would normally turn into white blood cells.
Jack was declared in remission by New Years and had even received a bone marrow transplant from his sister. He was doing so well that he and his wife, Lyndy, came down to San Carlos to enjoy a warm winter. They had purchased Gitana, a 39′ Irwin sailboat a couple years before, wanting to sail throughout the Sea of Cortez.
M. had met Captain Jack, as we call him, in May 2010 when he came to San Carlos for the first time. Jack took M. out on Gitana and they talked all things sailing while enjoying some beer. Jack wanted to sell her, but M. wasn’t ready to buy. Later, M. told me about Captain Jack and his beautiful boat, not knowing that we would be the proud owners of Gitana within a year!
I met Jack and Lyndy one afternoon in November last year. M. and I ran into them while eating at Soggy Peso, a beach restaurant/bar. They mentioned again that they wanted to sell their boat and would love to take us sailing. So, after having looked at many sailboats, from 23′ to 53′, and knowing that we hadn’t found our lady, we climbed aboard Gitana on December 3, 2010, and immediately fell in love! She called to us and we knew we were home!
We enjoyed many breezy but sunny winter days with Jack aboard Gitana. Lyndy and I would often go as well (being pregnant didn’t always lend itself to being out on the water!), but there were many times when M. and Jack would go alone. They even sailed up to San Pedro Bay one weekend (see whale pictures from their trip).
Though we won’t see Jack again in the flesh while on Earth, we do know that he asked Jesus Christ to be his Saviour within a week of his passing. I imagine Jack is standing in heaven now, with his capri sailing pants on, sipping a beer and smiling while talking with his friends about how good life is.
I miss his laughing eyes. I miss him greeting me with open arms and asking, “How’s our Mama today?” I wish Ethan could snuggle up in his chest like he does with his daddy. But for now, we will have to be content with knowing that he is at peace, and find that peace for ourselves with God.
“We know that God, who raised the Lord Jesus, will also raise us with Jesus and present us to himself … That is why we never give up. Though our bodies are dying, our spirits are being renewed every day. For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.
For we know that when this earthly tent we live in is taken down (that is, when we die and leave this earthly body), we will have a house in heaven, an eternal body made for us by God himself and not by human hands … God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. So we are always confident, even though we know that as long as we live in these bodies we are not at home with the Lord. For we live by believing and not by seeing. Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.”
2 Corinthians 4:14, 16-18, 5:1, 5-8 (NLT)
Visit Jack’s “Caring Bridge” website. (CaringBridge provides free websites that connect people experiencing a significant health challenge to family and friends.)