We got some sad news from home a few days after arriving into Ecuador. My cousin Mary, who`d been sick for some time, was expected to live only a few days longer. She died the following day in the company of her family and friends.
Mary was one of the most generous, selfless people I´ve had the pleasure of knowing. Her bright smile rarely faded, no matter what she was going through, and she always put others before herself. One of the last times I saw her, in the Mater hospital a month or so before we left, I remember being moved about how excited she was for our plans of travelling and moving to the West, a place that she had spent a lot of time paddling in over the years. She thrived on seeing other people happy.
Mary enjoyed life to the full whenever she could. She was a long time kayaker and loved travelling – she´d been to Central America herself (drawn there by the whitewater rafting!) and had spent time trekking in the Himalayas. She enjoyed her skiing and continued to go on skiing holidays with her brothers and friends to soak up the atmosphere even when she didn´t have the strength to partake. In recent months, when she didn´t have the energy to read, she´d have my mum print out the latest stories from this blog and read them out to her (it was great to know that someone was reading it!).
It´s hard being away from home when something like this happens. It would have been nice to be home to see her off but Mary wouldn´t have wanted that. We decided to remember her in our own way and went rafting, something that she certainly would have approved of! It felt right.
We´ll miss you Mary, rest in peace.