Celebrating Those Who Have Returned From Sea, Mourning Those Who Will Not.

George and the crew have returned from the 2014 Dungeness crab season. I have not yet gone down to the harbor to snap pictures of the post-season gear work that consists of getting 500 pots off the boat, stacking them in lockers at the harbor, and a variety of other tasks. This year’s crab season was not great, as there were very few crab around.

The upside is that George said there were many “recruits.” Recruits are all the female and young crab the guys throw back into the ocean. These crab indicate a potentially boom season in the next couple of years. Fishing seasons run in cycles, and we don’t get too upset about a slow season, knowing it will come back around as it always does.

The important thing is that everyone arrived home safe and alive. You never know, when you wave the boat off at the start of a season, if that will be the last time you see one of the guys you are waving to. Without fail, I go to the harbor and wave and hug and send the boat off  at the start of every single season, because you just never know.

Tragically, the Oregon commercial fishing community will not receive one of their fishermen home this year. Just last week, our sister fishing community lost one of their own to the Bering Sea. Eric Eder, who by accounts from every single person in the Oregon fishing family was an upstanding, awesome, fun, friendly, wonderful man, leaves behind a beautiful wife and young family. You can read more here.

This hurts everyone. Personally, news like this always causes me to reflect back to 1997, when my own brother-in-law, Danny, was lost to the sea during the Alaska crab season. Married just a few months, my sister’s vibrant and exuberant husband was never found. I’ve written a bit about Danny here. I have never shared much about the grief of our families on my blog or otherwise, because the grief is so private and painful.

However, I will never forget going about my regular morning all those years ago. Then, the phone call. The panic. The confusion. The denial. The hope that it was all a mistake. The realization. The horror.

The fact that another family is experiencing this right now leaves us all with a heavy heart. We welcome and celebrate the fishermen who have returned safe to the harbor, but mourn the ones who will never return. We cry for  their wives, their children, their families, their friends.

And please, don’t forget the Lady Cecelia. Just two years ago, in March of 2012, I wrote about my thoughts concerning the tragedy of this Oregon trawler that disappeared into the sea in a matter of seconds off the Washington Coast, taking all four crew members with her. You can read that post here.

If you are able, I encourage you to take a moment and give to the family of Eric Eder. Donations can be made here.

Imagine if you were a fishing wife one moment and a fishing widow the very next. If financial giving is not an option, please pray for Eric Eder and his family. I can tell you that time does not do much to ease the excruciating pain of a fisherman lost, but every little bit of kindness, love, and support does help.

God Bless, Eric Eder.

God Bless, Eric Eder.

 

Comments

  1. Al left for fishing albacore in CA and OR when our daughter was a one week old baby – for two solid months. That was 17 fishing seasons ago and each one has been progressively easier as our two kids have grown older and Al has returned home after each season. I remember feeling so vulnerable of him being gone while caring for a little baby. So immensely grateful upon his return. The Eric Eder family will forever be in our hearts as he leaves behind a wife and two sons, a 5 year old and a 5 week old. They will need all of the support our fleet, our extended fishing family, can muster.

    I am glad that G is home safe. There will be other Dungie crab seasons. Family, healthy relationships, the love we have for our kids – that is what matters the most in this fishing business we all love so well. Hugs to all and hope our paths cross soon! In the meantime, we will pray that God holds the Eric Eder family, and all survivors of loved ones lost at sea, in the palm of His hand.

    • Oh, Karla, as always you are so well-spoken and bring me to tears. I totally concur with every sentence you’ve written. I did not know one of Eric’s children was a 5-week old. I remember when I first had Valerie, George went to sea two days after she was born and we did not see him again for about five months. However…we assumed he would come back at some point. I so agree with your words about what is important and what matters and the need for community and support. You are such a blessing to our fishing community!!

  2. Thank you, your words are beautiful. I am Eric’s sister. I’m so sorry for the loss of your brother in law. Thank you for your post. The community that encircled Eric far and wide has been extremely generous through prayer, kind words, support and donations. Eric touched many lives – I had no idea how many.

    Bless you and your family. <3

    • Shelly, thank you so much for writing, and for taking the time to write in the midst of grief. I am so sorry for your unbelievable loss. I am so glad and grateful for the strong, resilient fishing community in Oregon that has encircled your dear brother’s family and friends, and the circles outside of it that have honored and lifted up your brother and his memory. When my brother-in-law was lost at sea, our circle and community of friends, and family (whether they fished or not) was the only thing that sustained us and kept us waking up each morning. Literally. Some of these friends stayed at our home and made sure we woke up and got to the day. I have seen by the outpouring of love and help in response to your brother’s death that he was an amazing and awesome individual. My sorrow, sympathy, and heart continue to go to you and your family, and will always.

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