I needed a break from the egghead/self-development books that are my norm. I love true stories and though the movie “Adrift” was ok, I was sure the book it was based on, The original title ” Red Sky in Mourning: The Story of Love, Loss & Survival at Sea” by Tami Oldham Ashcraft, would be so much better. “Adrift”, the movie tie-in, was the audio version I read. I was right. Though the book has a lot of sailing jargon, the story is exactly what the title evokes. I found my eyes welling up with tears at times, relating some of the author’s words to my own past experiences.
The story weaves in and out of past and present, to give a three-dimensional perspective of this intense, but short-lived love story. What is unique is that much of it is cleverly told in a conversation between the protagonist and the antagonist, of which the roles keep changing. Due to the nature of narrative, there are two main characters – a “voice” and Tami, the author and survivor, who illustrate the rainbow of emotions and behaviors reflective in extreme life circumstances. The thread throughout is simply to have faith and believe that love ultimately fuels the tenacity and fortitude to keep going in the worst of situations.
A Personal Memory of Love
It was an ordinary night. The city was quieting down. In the low florescent light of his office, there we stood. He took my hands and drew me close. There was nobody left. The humming of computers and copiers, phones ringing, even the music coming from the cleaning cart, had all disappeared. Silence except for the sexy croon of Sinatra. We moved so slowly back and forth. He drew me close so enough so that my head rested on his chest. The world seemed so far away. God, he was romantic. I LOVED that about him. He was creative and sometimes silly but it was what I loved. He understood my romantic cravings and delivered. He always delivered.
The Power of Love is Transcendent
Listening to Tami’s words, I was able to crystallize that feeling of grief I’ve felt, and the recognition of guilt when that person is no longer in the forefront of your mind. Losing someone you love, suddenly or through illness, is incredibly painful and yet part of that pain can be comforting. The pain becomes part of the memory. We can be hesitant to let go because we fear forgetting them.
Time heals because the memories find their place to rest. Life and all of celebrations and challenges, opens up the avenue to live in the present and ponder the future.
Adrift reminded me that it is ok to live my life without thinking of him or to remember whenever the moment strikes. I wasn’t being disloyal. I’m lucky we created the moments we did. Love is a pure and powerful emotion that requires no justifications. It feeds us through the best and worst of times.