Marie Pechet, In Memoriam

My conversations with Marie Pechet usually started with a line like this: “I have chemotherapy in a couple hours and you won’t hear from me in the next 3 days.” We had met two years ago when a mutual friend introduced us. She was interested in traveling to an off-the-beaten-track locale, much like her beloved Cape Santa Maria on Long Island in the Bahamas. She would never discuss her health with me.  But I looked online and read one of her stories where she had been battling colorectal cancer since 2008, shortly after her second child was born. Eight mind-numbing years of battling a stage 4 cancer and her incredible spirit shone through those phone calls and literally hundreds of emails I’m now reliving. She wanted an eco-friendly hotel that respected her diet of vegetables, beans, lemon and lime, olive oil, avocado, and nuts. Her older son, now 13, was also allergic to nuts, fish, lentils, and pumpkins. We found a place on Costa Rica’s Osa Peninsula, Aguila de Osa, where the owner is known to go overboard to make every wish come true. She loved that property and would often talk about returning, even though her husband, Tiron, loathed the long boat ride to reach it (see the photograph). 

We would book other trips to Dominican Republic, Florida, Tanque Verde dude ranch outside of Tucson, even Bloomington, Indiana, after learning that our daughter goes to Indiana University. She would comment on my daily travel blog, wish us well on our travels, send other clients our way, and write lengthy reviews of all trips where she would be brutally honest about the good and the bad. In truth, she was the client Lisa and I dreamed about when we first started this business 5 years ago. She was battling cancer for close to a decade, undergoing brutal chemotherapy sessions while raising two boys, and had far more zest for life than most people I know. Her cancer would simply not allow her to take life for granted. On Wednesday morning, she finally succumbed to that dreadful illness. We had just spoken several weeks ago, discussing the details of her family’s return to Tanque Verde over the holidays. Death was the farthest thing from my thoughts especially when talking to this enthusiastic woman so full of life. I hope Tiron and the boys do return to Tanque Verde, a land of craggy peaks and long horizons, where I know Marie will take her rightful place in the clouds watching over everyone she touched. In only two short years, she had an immediate impact on our lives and will leave a large void.