An Islamorada Sunset Remembrance

The last time we talked I sat down on this same water’s edge, in this same place to watch the sunset as I often do in Islamorada.  Many in my community watch the sunset and in today’s world it serves as the chance to get fresh air with an opportunity to appreciate the beauty here in the Florida Keys.  Of course, we keep our distance, but we do converse and often discuss “keys” topics such as the fishing, discoveries from a recent kayak paddle, and of course the current situation in our county (and country).

sunset for pascal in islamorada florida keys

A remembrance sunset in Executive Bay

This night, what started like any other I talked with Ari and his son Pascal (more than 6 feet away of course) for more than usual. We talked for an hour. We discussed the pending eighth grade graduation with Pascal detailing how he really wanted it to be done in person with his friends. We discussed Pascal’s next science project already underway -comparing the trash washed up on the shore in quarantine versus other times when the shelter in place orders will no longer be in place.  We also chatted about his recently canceled trip to Yellowstone and wondered about the loud sounds from local (mating) manatees in the water.  The hour went fast as the sunset sky turned into a starry night.

Actually, this could have been any night.  I’ve seen them at sunset a lot recently. Always together, whether snorkeling in the water, paddling to shore after a sunset kayak, or even after fishing on the docks. But sadly it wasn’t any night, it would be my last memory of Pascal.

candle burns brightly during sunset in islamorada

a candle gives light to this situation…and a candle not unlike the one he first sold me

I first met Pascal when he knocked on my door to sell Yankee Candles as a fundraiser for a school trip. I can recall him coming inside and how our discussion lasted well beyond the few minutes to view his catalog. I ordered candles as his sales pitch wasn’t one at all, yet I was sold on his kindness and appreciated his general interest in my life. It helped sealed the deal not just for a candle, but also sealed the start of a friendship.  Since then our families have become deeper connected through our local Treasure Village Montessori School and also as neighbors in Executive Bay. And  we often found each other at sunset appreciating the beauty of the Florida Bay. Through the years, I have come to call Ari my friend too, and our sons became friends too.

flowers and a memorial for pascal in exective bay

others in Executive Bay made a memorial for Pascal (photo from a different night) he was well loved in our community

It’s not often I watch a sunset in tears, when I have, the drops can usually be traced to feelings of utter joy on my travels or even returning home to a sunset paddle in Islamorada.  But not this night. These tears were from my feelings about this great loss. Pascal, such a kind, gentle, loving soul left us too early. Ari, my friend, life forever changed along with the life of his older son, Daniel too. I am not sure why it happened or what happened, but I prayed for all three that evening. I also asked to receive strength to be able to help my friend navigate his great loss.

At times in life, there are no words.

Only acts of love, kindness, and comfort.

During this time of confusion and sorrow,

Our prayer is that you feel the thoughts of many people.

Thoughts of peace and remembrance.

Of hope and light.

Of strength and faith.

Hold on, dear friend, and know that we are with you.


We are with you Ari, the community is with you, I am with you…..

Staying with you, Craig

The words of the prayer were written by Shelley Blednick, family friend and fellow writer.  To read more about the loss in my community, see the article in Keys Weekly here.

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  • william b kaliher

    Just nice–loved info and photos

    • craig zabransky

      Thanks Bill, appreciate it. It’s has certainly been a tough time for our local community….appreciate your comment…. Stay well my friend, Craig

      • william b kaliher

        I look forward to seeing your posts esp. now—i’m so ready to travel back to Mexico— thanks again for the info u provide