This is not easy this morning. This is hard.

Tino telephoned me last night as I was going out. Jana is dead.

Jana. Young. Mid 20s. Absolutely beautiful. Tall. Thin. Always a smile. Always a quiet hello.

Jana was from the Czech Republic. I have known her about 3 years. She would be here in Key West 6 months. And then home to the Czech Republic for 6 months. Back and forth.

She was in love. With Shane. Her male counterpart. Just as nice as her.

They made the perfect couple.

We all played bocce. Though on different teams. Jana and Shane played on Don’s Place. Just last week I was both kidding and admonishing Shane that it was time to marry Jana. His response was his quiet Gary Cooper smile.

Shane is in his early 30s. Makes a living as a boat person. He takes tourists out flat fishing. Shane knows the waters and their dangers.

Jana and Shane went kayaking Saturday. One kayak. A 10 foot 2 seater. They left from the Dry Tortugas. Shane filed a float plan stating they would be back at 4:30. They did not return at 4:30. The Coast Guard sent out a rescue helicopter.

Seventeen hours later they found Jana’s floating body.

An hour later, they found Shane about a mile away. Alive.

The weather is touchy this time of year. It changes unexpectedly. The cold fronts come in and out. Rough weather arises quickly. Even a cautious experienced boater as Shane can be caught in a bad situation.

I spoke with Larry Smith this morning. He described Jana perfectly…..She never spoke over a beautuful whisper.

The playwrite A. Sachs penned a death soliloquoy that fits Jana perfectly: “Death is more universal than life, everyone dies but not everyone lives.”

Jana lived a beautiful existence in the short time she was with us.

Shane, hang in there! We all love you. And we all loved Jana. Nothing more can be said.

One comment on “

  1. KWL –

    So sorry for the loss of one of your friends. Your brief description of the tragedy sparks a question which seems to be consistently present these days: Why?

    Hang in there buddy!

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