Sunday, July 13, 2014

Soldier-Girl Paddles To The Sea: Maire's Journey Begins

Some may remember the passing, last October, of my Soldier-Girl second-niece and first-cousin-once-removed, Maire Caitlin Kent. This beautiful girl died of an incredibly rare heart cancer at the age of only 24.

She was given three weeks to live the day she was diagnosed. She fought valiantly for 11 months.

Now her extraordinary story is being captured on film: Maire’s Journey, a documentary both about her premature death and of the extraordinary journey she shall take in her afterdays from the Straits of Mackinac to the ocean. She decided in her last days she wanted to take a journey--modeled after the classic children's tale Paddle-to-the-Sea, which she had loved as a little girl.  A dear friend of hers, a blind carpenter named George Wuerzel, has built a small sailboat, the Maire’s Journey, carrying her ashes from the Straits all the way up the St. Lawrence Seaway. When she arrives at the sea, her ashes will be released.

And the film that is being made about her journey will run on PBS in the days afterwards.

Here are some pictures from her launch on July 15, and from her first days of travel.


The journey commences at the Straits, within eyeshot of the Big Mac.

Three of Maire's siblings--Breandan, Nora and Geoff Kent--hold her ashes.

Saying goodbyes to Maire. Left to right: Breandan Kent, Brad Johnson, Crystal Fowler Johnson, Jacob Mann, Michael Heraty, Colleen McGuire Heraty (hidden in orange shirt), Nora Hall, Olivia Britting, Geoffrey Kent.

The good ship Maire's Journey.

Her builders commence the launch.

 Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry’s web page revealed them to be the first to encounter Maire as she Paddles to the Sea!

Yesterday we had the privilege of being a part of Maire's Journey. While on a departure off Mackinac Island back to Mackinaw City, Capt. Billy and crew slowed their vessel, The Hope, down to pick up a pink, wooden sailboat out of Lake Huron. At that time, no passengers on board knew what was going on but quickly became a part of this special story. Capt. Billy spoke over the PA system to them and read what was written on the sail of this boat they just collected-- "My name is Maire. I died of sarcoma cancer. My ashes are enclosed in this boat and I am on my way to the ocean. If you find me, please set me back on my path. I will bless you from Heaven. If I have reached the ocean, please let my brothers and sisters know. You can reach them through my Facebook page, Maire's Journey." Please go to her page to learn more about this amazing 24-year-old young lady and to also see what some of our passengers on The Hope wrote about this experience.
The ceremonial launch of Maire's boat was yesterday, July 12th at Cross Village Beach. Her journey will take her through the Great Lakes, onto the Detroit River, through the Erie Canal out to the Hudson River, then to the New York City harbor. It is here where her ashes will be released by her family. It was truly an honor to be involved with such an emotional story. We also wanted to share some pictures of what took place yesterday for you to see.


(Picture credits to Crystal Fowler Johnson and to Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry. Thanks!)

For more info about Maire's Journey, visit:
God bless you, Maire, and see you again on the other side!


This picture was taken the evening she was put on the water.
("Orange and Green. The colors of Ireland!" - Nora Kent)
(Coincidence? I THINK NOT.)


1 comment:

  1. This is so incredibly beautiful, and such a loving tribute to an obviously special young woman.


Keep it clean for gene.