Ali in her walker and making crazy eyes in the tub with cousin Jillian.
I would love to see photos of Ali riding her horses. I think that a lot of her current friends know her mostly through her love of the sea. They might be blown away to see photos of her dressage riding.
I only had a few encounters with Ali, but they were so very significant for me that they are emblazoned in my memory I’ve known Luc since he was eleven, when I was an Assistant Scout Master in Paul’s Boy Scout Troop. One year, when I was at Wolfeboro, the Scout summer camp, Ali came up to visit Luc and Luc Introduced me to her. I think Luc was in high school by that time, and Ali in college. Luc and Paul had told me a bit about Ali before I met her. I knew she was a serious equestrian. I had an equestrian past and had ridden some dressage, so thinking that would make easy ground for conversation, I asked her how she got involved in dressage, which is unusual for a youth. Ali just stared at me, probably wondering what this older woman, wearing a Boy Scout uniform, was about. The more I tried to engage her, the less Ali said; I doubt she uttered more than three words. Talk about not suffering fools gladly! Zip ahead to the day of her wedding. Ali and I found ourselves in one of those deep, short conversations about life that every so often takes one by surprise. I immediately knew I was speaking with a brilliant young woman who was completely self-assured, who knew exactly where she was going in life, and who was overflowing with joy about her imminent marriage. Perhaps it was this joy that broke through her usual shell, but I fell in love with Ali as I loved Luc and all the Maheu family. I have followed Ali and Luc on Ali’s Facebook page and have watched this incredible, almost fairy tale-like life unfold. Ali’s brilliance and depth came through in her writing, her passion for the old crafts of seafaring and her amazing rope work, her photographic work and her energy for pursuing so many things. I only wish there were time to get to know her better. Usually, for me, life intervenes. This time, it is cruel, untimely death. I don’t think any one else’s death has ever made me this sad.
Ali doing what she loved most, working on the ships at the Maritime museum. Here we were working on the bowsprit of the Alma.
I first met Ali when she and Luc joined Point San Pablo Yacht Club and they moved in to stay. You are right, she was quiet. Our first real conversation was after they went to Ireland and the subject of knitting came up. We had something in common there, and I think it combines the quietness and the use of hands that was so much a part of her.
The thing that stuck me most about Ali and Luc both was driven passion about things and each other and life goals in such young people. As an older person, finding young ones like this to pass the world on to gives me hope for mankind in general. So often we hear the worst things about youth. Now I feel like the world has been cheated by her passing so soon. I will miss her postings about working on their boat home, about her working at the ships in SF, about her quiet, but not so thinly veiled excitement about Luc coming home, about her knot work, about visiting other historical vessels, about the dogs, about horse rides… Just a few weeks ago I sent her a message telling her how much her adventures made me smile and how glad I was she posted them. Her response, “thank you”. “Thank you” fate for letting me meet her.
My own daughter is 50 this year, trying to wrap my head around what the loss of the last 23 years of her life would have been like leaves me just aching for your family. As we celebrated Christmas yesterday, sitting at the table waiting for my family to get seated, I was thinking of Luc, fighting back tears while I was supposed to be having a joyous occasion. I have been a widow before, I have remarried happily, but I so clearly remember the pain of losing the one you are most intimate with in your life. It will not be easy for him, and it will never go away. I pray you all keep him in your hearts, and remember it is not just at this time, but it is forever. New life and new love may come along someday, but his loss will never be gone, nor will yours.
I have posted a link to her Entwined article on my FB page. She painted her own portrait in that piece.
I forgot to put my email address on that last post. Please send pictures, stories, etc. to firstname.lastname@example.org