Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

In Memory of Darwin, Our Cute Boy

My Wednesday post this week is a bit different. First, it is even less wordless than usual. Second, the WordPress theme does not resonate with me. “It’s Not This Time of Year Without..” is supposed to be the topic of our photo(s). The one thing without which my holiday season could never be complete is … my husband, Mark. I know this sounds cocky and very unimaginative. And, I am sure he would not appreciate being the center of my blogging attention this week, having his face (or both of ours) splattered all over this page. He already cringes when I take photos of him and, this week, I just happen to create a 2017 calendar for our parents and my omaΒ with a different photo of us livening up every single month. πŸ™‚

Why does the holiday period not resonate with me? There are a few reasons. When I grew up in Belgium, Christmas was never a big thing. We had a nice tree inside, rooted in a bucket of dirt. It would still loose needles, driving my dad crazy. Just so we’d have something to do on that holiday, my parents would buy a few tiny gifts for my brother and I. They joined the bigger New Year gifts under the tree. New Year’s Day was our time to celebrate, read New Year’s letters created in class and spend time with family and friends. Of course, I loved the two-week school vacation as well.

With Mark in my life, I have experienced the real holiday season in the States and a couple of hectic family Christmases. We are not fans, preferring a quieter and less commercialized end of the year. Our many seasons away from “home” have been unintentional, yet wonderful escapes. And then, there are all the unfortunate events in our life that have saddened this time of year. My aunt Monique passed away one December (2011), Mark’s sister struggled through her last months on earth in 2012, our first dog Kali passed away the day after Christmas in 2008, and our other rescue dog Darwin followed suit right after my birthday in 2010. It is in memory of him that I am posting a poem today. I wrote it after he died, exactly six years ago.


Darwin, the Boat Dog


All of a sudden the sky turned dark

For Caribbean sailors Liesbet and Mark

Their happy family consisting of three

Would not remain the way it used to be


Multiple trips to the vet didn’t lie

Their beloved dog was going to die

Malignant tumors while still in his prime

It would only be a matter of time


They cried and hoped and did their best

But all that occurred was his final rest

Nothing else they could have done

Darwin, the boat dog, is forever gone


These cruisers never wanted to find out

What life without dogs would be about

Who will protect them out at sea?

Who will greet visitors on SV Irie?


No more Darwin to hug and to pet

No more good times at the beach to be met

No more dog kisses right in the face

No more barking to guard his space


The Caribbean Sea is salty from tears

This empty feeling will last for years

Waves of sorrow lap onto the beach

β€œTime heals all wounds” is what they preach


Darwin, the boat dog, was special and smart

He found a spot in many people’s heart

He sailed and trotted all over the place

Wagging his tail; a smile on his face


Wherever he went, no matter the joy,

He always looked like a comfy boy

He lived a great life before passing away

He’ll be missed and remembered every day!


  1. Darwin — what a great name and what a great face. Six days, six weeks or six years . . . I don’t think we ever get over the loss of our four-legged friends.

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

  2. An excellent tribute. For those that love dogs, they become more than pets. There is a certain joy that is suddenly always gone from the world. I’m not sure anything really brings it back.

    • So true, Ryan. Back in the days, I felt true, innocent happiness. Even when just playing with our dogs on the beach, or watching them having fun. It might be age (and more negative experiences) or not having our own dogs anymore, but happiness is not the same anymore these years. We can’t go back, but we can bring dogs back into our lives. We kind of are now, but one day we will have our own again! πŸ™‚

  3. What a lovely tribute. Darwin looks like he is having so much fun in the photo! I don’t know that time heals much…. the pain of losing a loved one is always there. Queen Elizabeth says grief is the price we pay for love….unbearable price for an irreplaceable life.

    • That is a very appropriate quote! Thing is that we know it will happen at some point, when you adopt dogs or love people. Such a painful experience, though, and a feeling that never will get “fixed” again. It is part of life. And, the joy dogs bring is worth it – we keep telling ourselves. πŸ™‚

  4. Thank you for sharing this beautiful tribute, Liesbet. Darwin does sound very special indeed. I agree with you 100% — our pets do live in our heats and souls forever.

    • I feel like I keep reminding you of your recent loss, Donna. I am so sorry. But, the joy our dogs bring creates such happiness that is hard to find elsewhere and we may – and will – not forget that.

  5. This is so sweet! Pets are definitely a huge part of people’s lives and the wholes are hard to fill sometimes when they are gone! Beautiful share!

  6. A beautiful tribute Liesbeth and his happy face sparkles in your photograph. I always believe that we meet our animal companions again on the other side of the rainbow 🌈 Thank you for sharing and much love to you πŸ’–

    • I would love to believe that as well, Xenia. I’d be running hard, arms wide open and a massive smile on my face. Just to embrace them again, their sweet faces looking at me and their tails wagging a mile a second… πŸ™‚ Darwin was a very happy – go lucky – boy!

  7. Very touching – poor Darwin.

  8. Hey Liesbet,

    Zo’n mooi gedicht. Het vertelt alles en brengt de herinnering levendig terug naar boven.
    Je schreef toen ook een mooi stukje tekst op je blog dat mij is bij gebleven. Ik ben blij dat ik hem gekend heb en miste hem bij ons volgende bezoek op Irie.
    Ik steek vandaag een kaars aan voor hem en iedereen die we missen.

    • Oh, Griet. Dat is zo lief van jou. Bedankt! We missen hem en Kali nog steeds en ik ben ook blij dat jullie hem leerden kennen. Het is af en toe een beetje moeilijk nu, terwijl ik mijn boek aan het schrijven ben en periodes beschrijf toen zij er nog bij waren. Ik ben net in St. Maarten gearriveerd met mijn verhaal en enkel Darwin is nog bij ons. Bijna tijd om The Wirie uit te vinden. πŸ™‚

  9. Aww….I’ve got tears in my eyes. What a lovely poem and tribute to Darwin.

    • Thanks, Ellen. It makes me want to create a little tribute to our other dog Kali later in December as well. How are your fingers doing? Getting some deserved rest? πŸ™‚

  10. What a beautiful tribute. I know just how very hard it is.

    Family. Always.


    • What a cute dog! I had no idea you had an Australian shepherd as well, Peta. Mango sure had a good, full-filling life and was well-traveled and well-loved as well, like Darwin. So nice. We used to give our dogs haircuts in the tropics as well and many swimming sessions. Yes, they are like family and will always be missed. πŸ™

  11. What a fine looking boy! πŸ™‚ I’ve often wanted to spend Christmas away from all the razzamatazz. So much of it feels phoney these days. If you’ve got kids it’s a different story. Hope you’ll enjoy the kind of quiet festive season you like, Liesbet. That beach house in your Header, far from the madding crowd, would suit me fine. πŸ™‚

    • Yep. When you have commitments, it is harder to get away from it all over Christmas. Since we have not been of the traditional kind for many years, we keep getting away with “skipping” it. πŸ™‚ I agree with the kid-thing. Although, if I had children I would raise them in lieu of the “Happy Holiday” season, instead of the “Merry Christmas” one. That house on the beach is on Cape Cod, Jo, on the National Seashore – a protected area. Quiet, indeed, this time of the year. πŸ™‚

  12. Oh, I hadn’t seen this post. Darwin looks so adorable here and truly happy to be in your life! Your poetic eulogy is touching and wonderful! I get comfort knowing that we may see them again one day πŸ™‚

    • Seeing them again would be incredibly awesome! We know we want dogs again one day, but it would be so hard for them to even slightly match the personalities and demeanor of Darwin and Kali. But, we will love them just as much, I”m sure. πŸ™‚

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