During a whirlwind trip visiting Frenchboro, Isle au Haut, and Matinicus, Sharon Daley said goodbye to the patients she has known and cared for, for more than 20 years. This trip was her last on the Sunbeam as the Director of Island Health and to mark the occasion, the Sunbeam’s crew and Sharon share their reflections as a final farewell to Sharon.
Storey King, Engineer:
Sharon is always looking for the voice that isn’t always heard. She is currently working on a housing situation that is not appropriate for the rest of the winter. To her, it doesn’t matter who, where, or what you have. If she sees a situation where help is needed, she will be right in the middle of it.
Douglas Cornman, Director of Island Outreach:
The trip was bittersweet. Each time we did something together, I kept thinking, “This will be the last time I get to do this with Sharon.” This trip solidified how much I enjoy working with her. We were a partnership, even when it was simply listening to and showing up for one another. I will miss her. So, that’s the bitter part. The sweet part is that I know I have a lifelong friend and we will continue to show up for one another, just in different ways. I am happy Sharon now has the time to focus on family, friends, and pursuits she set aside because her work with the islands took priority. I wish her joy, love, fun, and endless energy as she gets to laugh, play, and care for those dear to her. I love you, Sharon.
Even though Sharon was born in the Midwest, she was born to do this unique nursing work aboard the Sunbeam. Sharon figured out how to be there for each individual no matter the circumstances. When Sharon was departing the boat for the last time, she allowed me to help her get her final bags down the long dock to her car only if I promised no long goodbye, short and sweet, a “see ya later.” Neither of us wanted to cry. When Sharon and I reached the top of the slip’s ramp and stepped on to land, Captain Mike blew Sunbeam’s horn. Long and slow, it sounded like a bittersweet mournful cry from the boat herself. “Goodbye, Sharon. I love you. Be well,” I heard the Sunbeam say. Hearing this, Sharon and I, laden with bags looked to each other and we both were crying. Just then a woman walking across the Northeast Harbor lawn toward us asked, “Is that horn sounding your final trip?” Sharon replied, “How did you know?” “I read it in the paper,” the woman said as Sharon and I chuckled back the tears.
Mike Johnson, Captain:
On first impression, Sharon’s last trip was a typical island trip. We all started off the journey in standard fashion drinking coffee in the pilothouse while catching up with each other. As the trip progressed, many islanders came to say “goodbye” and I could tell Sharon began to realize her time on the Sunbeam was coming to a close. With a palpable sense of sadness creeping in, this started to affect the entire crew. For me, who has been on the boat the same twenty-one years as Sharon, I found myself remembering funny events from the “early days.” On Tuesday night, Sharon and I stayed up late laughing and reminiscing with some of these stories. As the trip came to an end, I thought of multiple ways to show my appreciation. I chose the ship’s horn. As Sharon departed the boat for her final walk up the gangway, I gave her a couple of loud blasts. She stopped, looked back at me, and then continued to her car. I am sure that was a tough commute home.
And finally, a note from Sharon:
It was a wonderful trip full of emotions. Hard goodbyes but good to feel all the love and appreciation. I received a beautiful shawl knit by Lisa on Isle au Haut and bucket of lobsters from lobstermen on Matinicus. There were lots of good laughs and memories mixed with a few tears. And I have a lot of love for the islands, islanders crew, and of course the Sunbeam.