I am very sorry to tell you

I am very sorry to tell you that Janet passed away early this morning, Thursday, 1/17/2013. 66 years, 7 months, 1 week, 6 days or 24334 days. Much too soon.

Her body was so strong, especially her heart, that the Hospice people could not understand how she lasted this long. The irony was that her heart, lungs, kidneys, etc, were all very healthy and strong and kept her body going like the Energizer Bunny.

Of course, that was no surprise to those that knew her.

I will write more in a few days and put a biography and various photos up eventually. Few of you knew what a varied and diverse life she had lived. But, I need to get several nights sleep, if I can now. But, first, I need to call some people and I apologize if you did not get a call. I had to keep the list short.

And then, there are things that I need to do to finish in Reno, hurry to Snohomish and then get back to Alegria, who has been waiting much too long.

A boat needs constant care and while friends are doing a great job of watching her, I need to get home to her and be sure that she is safe. Now that Janet has ‘passed over to the other side,’ Alegria is the most important thing in my life. Much like if we had had a child. Alegria is like our beloved ‘daughter.’

I will, of course, post more soon, and I want there to be a Memorial Service near Seattle, WA before I fly away, but countless non-essential things will continue to be put off.

Janet’s hundreds of friends are spread around the World and while I would love to spend lots of time with every single one of you, Janet & I have always been very careful with our money. SO, you are all welcome to come to the Seattle area, for the Service, but I wonder if you want to meet with other ‘Friends of Janet Erken’ (kind of like ‘Friends of Bill Wilson’) near where you are?

If so, give me permission and I will share contact info for you you with others near you. Perhaps a Southern California, and Australia, and England, and Turkey contingent, etc. This is probably impractical, but there are often others that you have not yet met, that are ‘Friends of Janet Erken’. Just a wild thought of my sleep deprived brain.

I will put my brain to bed for now and see if that helps anything.

Que le vaya bien, Juanita!

From now on, I must just sign in the singular,


Is it just me, or is there a giant, aching, empty hole to the right of my name?

My favorite Dr. Seuss quote so far:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”
― Dr. Seuss


32 thoughts on “I am very sorry to tell you

  1. We are so sorry David. Janet was truly a blessing in your life and in all our lives. You did all you could possibly do for her and you can’t ask for more than that. We pray that time will heal you. May you cherish the memories as they will live on forever. If there is anything we can do, please do not hesitate to ask. Love, Nancy, Bob & Chloe

  2. David – our lives have been graced with an angel named Janet. I am so blessed to know her, and you’ve both been my inspirations. Please let me know who all is in the Texas contingency. I love you both so much,
    Glenna & Lily

  3. Dave, you will always be family to us, as Janet will always be present in our hearts. We love you. Gene, Carol and Family

  4. David:

    We are so sorry for your lose. Lenora and I have talked about Janet and you sharing meals together around our table or around Alegria’s saloon table. They were good times and our memories are fill with good thoughts about those times and our times together.

    Fair Winds, Fair Winds,


    Rod and Lenora

  5. Dave, please let us all know when the memorial for Janet will be and where. Our deepest condolences to you. Janet was so special and we feel privileged to have known her and called her friend. You were her truest love and friend. Molly and Jack

  6. Oh, Dave, we’ve all lost a truly special person, who has blessed us all with her cheer, goodness, and intrepidly adventurous nature, but no one more than you. She was your cohort and fellow conspirator in rejecting the status quo and living life with a positive attitude that wouldn’t quit. She’s affected all of us for the better. Thank you for sharing her with us. You have been the best partner imaginable, and your relentless advocacy, care, and love of Janet has made us all look at our own lives and strive to do better. She is woven into the fabric of your being.
    Please do get some long deserved sleep and brain rest before making any decisions. Alegria can wait a few more days, and it is so good you have this boat, into which you can pour all the love that is now looking for a place to go.
    Deep hugs, P & L

  7. Not to sound selfish but I am the better for having known her a little and lesser from her passing. She will be cherished in my memories.Be strong Dave she will accompany you forever and past memories will give you strength I am sure. John

  8. Dave It was a pleasure and a honor to know Janet. She made the world a better place. Her memory will always be with me and those she met over the years. Pat

  9. Dave; We’re happy for Janet that her passage has come & we share your sorrow at her passing. Rest & sleep– you both fought the good fight! Our Creator must have broke the mold after you 2 came along. The Alegria crew can not be equaled! Fair winds & following seas from the Oui Si crew crew at Harmans’ Haven.

  10. David, thank you so much for taking such good care of Janet all these years. I know the past year and a half have been so hard, I am thankful you were there for her. I will miss her so much.
    If you need help with a memorial in the Seattle area I will be there to help you.
    ‘Perhaps they are not stars in the sky but rather openings where our loved ones shine down to let us know they are happy.’
    love, Liz

  11. Janet’s strength and fortitude were due in large part to the love you had for each other. She didn’t want to leave you…she knew your heart was breaking…but her body just could not go on Dave. I am filled with sadness, tears heartache for my friend who I have known since we were 14. My brain is full of memories as I write this and it’s impossible to spill them all over this page. I’ll wait for the memorial but promise I will be brief, loving and concise. At the risk of not being polite, waiting for you to ask, please know I have to be part of the memorial…a fitting goodbye to a member of “The Group.” That’s what we called ourselves in high school. This will be time to remember Janet (Her parents called her Jannie but I never could – for some reason that just came to mind.) and her beautiful life before and during her time with you. I was glad I could spend a few times with you both during her treatment at SCCA…a strange place to “catch up” I guess, but she seemed to be in such good spirits then. I’ll spare you any more…I just keep rambling. Get some sleep. When you have stuff figured out, let me know. Much love to my friend and my best to you Dave as you go forward and reunite with Alegria the love of both your lives.

  12. Dear Dave, Frank and I are deeply saddened at Janet’s passing.
    We have lost a dear, sweet friend. We’ll always have wonderful memories of our times together and Janet’s smile and positive outlook on life will be our inspiration.
    Love Linda and Frank

  13. Dave, I am so sorry for your loss. When we met you and Janet at the airport in Seattle years ago we were very fascinated with both of you. We feel very blessed to have you as part of our lives. I will definitely go to a service in Seattle.

  14. Dear David,
    No, it’s not just you, there is indeed a gaping hole next to your name.To me you were always part of “David and Janet” and always will be. I know there was a time before that, and now begins a time after that, but it will be a while before that hole is less apparent, less ragged, less wretched.
    Much love and gracious light to you, dear David.

  15. Dear Dave, I am ohso sorry to hear of Janet’s passing. Even with so much against her, I think we hoped for the slightest miracle that perhaps Janet would rally. We, in and from Netsel, knew Janet and spent time with both of you , even if by blog or email, through her many years of struggle with this disease. There was good news of remission and then yet again repeated battles to fight. Janet was indeed strong. She will remain loved and remembered. Take your time to get sleep. And eat. Janet,even her passing, will give you strength. God Bless you and Keep you.

  16. David, We have watched every day these last weeks, and read all of the lovely things you have written and pictures posted, that so vividly show the Janet we remember so well and are so grateful to have known. And you too. Please share our names with the others in the British Isles contingent.
    Love, Helen and Gus

  17. Yes Dave, big hole to the left of your name. But know that there is no hole in our hearts as they are filled with good memories. just wish there was comfort we could pass along to help the hole in yours. The Texas contingent will gather and smile because it happened.

  18. Dave,
    Our heartfelt condolences, knowing that we cannot fully appreciate what you must go through in the near future as you go from taking care of Janet to taking care of Dave. In my mind there is no doubt that Janet is on that beautiful boat you sent the poem about, and is just over the horizon, taking Janet to her next important duties. We old farts are losing so many of our dear friends these days, who are also on ships over the horizon going to wherever their next
    work/education will be. You are indeed a very special being, as evidenced by how you were able to share this trying experience with so many of us, and for me at least showing me the way to
    deal with the loss of loved ones. Notayot will always have room for you when you feel like putting up with wood and diesel smoke.
    John of John and Tina

  19. Dave, you and Janet added more to our odyssey than you’ll ever know. You are both and always will be oh so very special friends. It’s hard to face up to never seeing someone again. Janet will be loved and terribly missed. You are still loved and we hope we’ll get to see you before too long. Please feel free to share our contact details with any of Janet’s and your friends. We are currently in England. Love Malcolm and Gill.

  20. Our hearts are heavy tonight – know that we love you both. A lot of memories of us all in far away places. Tomorrow I am going to make her lemonade recipe and drink a toast to her.

    • I know you do Jim. Unfortunately, you had to join the Widower’s Club long before I did. Sadly, we have many friends who have lost their Significant Other, and many have suffered far worse than Janet & I did/are. In my case, Janet & I had several practice sessions at saying goodby, when she just could not take the inadequately treated pain any longer.

      Then the roller coaster that we were on would get better and she would change her “do not resuscitate” and we had hope again. But, the cycle repeated once too often and we finally got the very strong evidence that there was no reason to fight any more.

      We were actually very fortunate, compared to many of our friends that were separated from their partners in even worse ways. I have no idea how the survivor survived. Nor would I ever want to be in their shoes.

      I am getting more sleep and that helps, but who would say that my brain is working any better? I am doing what I can and I am pleased to not be much worse off.

      One day at a time. I do as much as I can, as well as I can each day and each day things get a little better.



      • Dave, if you need a place to rest back in Washington our place is available to you and any of your friends, at Seabeck. We have kayaks & a row boat if you want some water time, before the next step in your new life!

  21. Dear one, all the Heaths in the Northwest and down the coast are inexpressibly sad, but also so very glad that your brought Janet into our lives. We will see you when you get back to Snohomish and meanwhile, all our love.

  22. Dear Dave

    You are so very right about the emptiness to the right of your name. You two have always been an inspiration to us all, as I’m sure you will continue to be. I (and my husband Randy, even thou he has only known you by computer) have enjoyed traveling with you all these many years. I am 2/3’s through my chemo, and am sorry I’ve not checked in until today, but the Love of my life has continued to read your posts to me as we struggle through our small challenges compared to yours. We are so sorry for your loss, but I,m sure Janet continues to blaze new trails in her next life.
    Keep your faith.

    Much Love,
    Randy and Patti Harley Carnley
    Aboard Seabounddrummer

  23. So many wonderful testaments and memories. She will be missed by many. Sorry we are unable to attend the memorial. We will raise a glass in her honor. Always in our hearts.
    Denise and Roger

  24. Dear David,
    Please forgive our late reply. We have not had computer access for the past few weeks. We love you and Janet and shall very much miss her. She constantly inspired us with her enthusiasm, knowledge and positive outlook. Our wonderful times with you and Janet in Baltimore, Houston and Turkey are fresh in our minds and hearts.
    Love, Ann and Richard,

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