“I was the kind of person who got her first pair of sneakers at 25.”
Eileen learned how to tread water at age 28, a week before she took a sailing trip in the Caribbean with friends. On her first day in the water, she was sucked out to sea in a rip current. She remembers hearing her mother’s voice as the hours passed and the sky darkened, “You can do this, you have done hard things before. Remember when you couldn’t skip and I taught you how?”
Eileen and her husband Jamie
Eileen saw some land in the distance and made a flag out of a stick and the ribbon in her hair. After 20 hours treading water, a boat saw her and returned her to shore. When Eileen’s brother flew down to bring her back to Brooklyn and away from the ocean he told her that on the evening of her disappearance, her parents had received the call telling them she was lost at sea and presumed dead. Her mother had stayed up the whole night pacing and talking out loud… “You can do this, you have done hard things before….” Those were the same words Eileen heard as she tried to stay afloat.
“It was a remarkable relationship, to have a mom like that.”