Jordan Spence photo Maire Kent

Maire’s last wishes. “Cremate me and put my ashes in a boat. I want to go from Lake Michigan to the Atlantic Ocean.” – Last wish of a terminally ill 24-year old woman who knew what she wanted, but probably not how great an impact that wish would make on so many people.

Maire Kent didn’t have a plan for how her ashes would make it to the Atlantic Ocean from Lake Michigan, but miraculously, over several weeks, her little boat made it. This note was on the sail:
My name is Maire. I died of cardiac sarcoma cancer. My ashes are enclosed in this boat and I am on my way to the ocean. If you find me, please send me back on my path. I’ll bless you from Heaven. 
She would have been delighted to see that her boat “would travel by water and over land, riding on everything from planes to trains to the sidecars of motorcycles.”

Emmy-award winning filmmaker Keith Famie is making a documentary, The Embrace of Dying, about how people deal with the end of life, and is including Maire’s story.

“It was just a little 31⁄2-foot boat carved out of wood by a totally blind carpenter. That’s what she wanted to have her ashes put in,” Famie said. “The hope was that, with the help of strangers, she would have her dream come true. As it turns out, it was kind of like the Olympic torch. People wanted to be part of this journey.”

Lives were changed because of Maire’s request.

Whatever it is that floats your boat, so to speak… surrounding your final journey— remember that you don’t have to figure it all out on an Excel sheet. Tell your people what you want, and let them make it happen. It’s their last gift to you; they won’t resent it, they won’t blow it, and it may wind up being one of the highlights of their own life.

 Photo © Jordan Spence