Sandra Bailey passed away on January 23rd, 2017. She was my grandmother, chief counsel and sage advisor. Her loss was unexpected and swift and I struggle daily with the void opened inside me with her passing. I do my best to backfill the void with happy memories but I come away struggling with the feeling that reflection and mourning is not enough.
You see, mourning for someone isn’t enough when you owe them and I certainly owe my grandmother. I would still be working for minimum wage at restaurants and squandering my abilities if not for her. She provided the initial push and guidance that led me to Monroe County Courthouse to take my GED and then start community college. I spent 9 years working my way from pre-algebra to an aerospace engineering degree and during that time the only people to never question my purpose or ability to see it through were my wife and my grandmother.
So, you see I owe her.
My grandmother was an avid family historian and could trace the movement of our family through the generations all the way back to Europe and maybe it is for this reason that she knew the urge to explore the frontier is deeply rooted within me. When I told her I plan on immigrating to Mars as a colonist, she only worried about my safety, not my motivations. That is the kind of support that you cannot ask for or expect, it can only be given by extraordinary individuals.
Sandra Bailey was one of those extraordinary people and for that I owe her.
When I get to Mars, I’m going to lay claim to a patch of ground on a gentle slope near a deep depression in the crater-pocked landscape. Over generations, people will work to warm the planet, releasing it from the chilly grip of deep space and allowing the frozen water within it to return to the surface. That water will fill the deep depression right up to the rim – the very spot where I’ll set down roots for my family.
It is my hope that my descendants will enjoy the view that Sandy’s Beach affords them and that they will reflect on and recognize the crucial familial link that brought them to a new world.
They will know then that they too owe Sandra Bailey.