This is how I’ll remember her

Diana Jessie at the helm of Totem, tacking through a fresh breeze on Banderas Bay: smile on her face, wind in her hair.


We have lost a dearly loved member of our family.

Diana and her husband Jim came into my life through through Jamie: he originally met them while backpacking through Europe in the 80s. There’s a story that involves wandering the docks in Dubrovnik, and being irristibly drawn by a friendly hail to the pretty sailboat with “San Francisco” as her hailing port.

They’ve been an integral part of the fabric of our lives. It’s a simple fact that this life I love so much- choosing to live afloat, embrace a nomadic path, be proud of what makes us different- I owe to the Jessies, and to Diana in particular.

A spiritual mother, and a very grounded one, Diana opened the door for me. She demystified what felt like an unattainable dream. She was passionate about sharing a woman’s perspective and experience of cruising, to put open-eyed women in the drivers seat of what had long been a male-dominated realm.

As our life goals shifted to follow in Diana and Jimmy’s wake, she stood by and supported our steps to realize the dream. She was there to encourage us, to answer any question: some we asked, most she simply anticipated. She knew what we needed to hear, and she always had an opinion.

We knew that eventually we’d probably experience the loss of a loved one from far away, where we wouldn’t have the option to physically join the collective grieving and remembering process… the gathering to mourn and celebrate and share and heal that our culture uses to mark a passing. We knew it would be difficult. There’s just little irony in the fact that it was Diana who taught this lesson originally…to anticipate and make peace, as we lived every day to the fullest.


9 Responses to This is how I’ll remember her

  1. phyllis grant December 17, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

    i am so sorry for your loss. lots of love and breath to you today.

  2. boatbaby December 17, 2011 at 9:20 pm #

    My heart aches for you Behan. I only knew her through her writing, but I know the whole cruising community will mourn her loss. How blessed you were to have her touch your life in such a meaningful way. Hugs to all of you.

  3. Ana December 17, 2011 at 11:16 pm #

    What a lovely tribute, Behan. Diana will be missed truly missed. We had some wonderful walks together. Diana was truly a pioneer and great example for all of us.

  4. Diane, Evan and Maia December 18, 2011 at 7:44 am #

    Oh Behan–I recall the moment of magic when I first met you IRL and realized you had Jim and Diana aboard as guests. I think I told you then–when we were cruising the first time we crossed paths with Jim and Diana. They introduced us to gin fizzes and Diana told me how I could make a life of cruising and writing–advice I’ve followed. She was a strong and giving woman and her legacy is something to be in awe of. Love you sweetie and there will be extra hugs for you on Tuesday…

  5. Carol Morrison December 19, 2011 at 11:24 am #

    Well said Behan. I second all of that. She is part of the fabric of our cruising life as well. Sure made it less scary to leave the dock. Hugs to you and your family.
    Dennis, Carol & Josh

  6. Sarah Powell Erickson December 19, 2011 at 11:27 am #

    A lovely tribute to a lovely woman – I agree with Ana, a Pioneer she was, leading us down a watery path full of awe and wonder. A raised glass to Diana , and to Jim. sv/ El Tiburon: Sarah and Darrell, and Sparky too.

  7. Doug and Carla Scott December 20, 2011 at 3:05 am #

    Diana was such a wonderful person and mentor to all of us cruisers. We are all going to miss her.

    Love the picture of Diana sailing Totem – what a smile! Carla and Doug

  8. Nelson December 21, 2011 at 9:33 pm #

    Hello! My first visit, will visit you again. Seriously, I thoroughly enjoyed your posts(lovely tribute!). Congrats for your work. If you wish to follow back that would be great I’m at
    Thanks for sharing!

  9. Jaye December 24, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Diana was a dear friend, and yours was a lovely tribute.

    That’s a lovely photo.

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