Two years ago, my Daddy died. I never knew I could feel such pain. This year is better than last, thank heavens. Sometimes I hate when it gets easier… I never want to forgot the memories.
After Dad died my siblings and I were looking to one another “What are you going to do with his ashes?” When it was my turn, “I simply don’t know”. My younger brother, Rob, retorted “Your decision is easy?”
Me: It is?
Rob, YES! Dad wanted to visit you in Mexico so badly, take him to Mexico!
Me: Sob, sob, You’re right, sob, sob
Not only had Dad wanted to come visit me in Mexico, he and I were sailors. When I was little, Dad bought a 14’ Enterprise sailboat. He and I were the only ones in the family that liked it and we spent many evenings and weekends loving the water, the air… all that is sailing on a lake. Dad would paint vivid pictures via story for me all about the Swiftsure race out of Victoria (the premiere race of the Pacific Northwest). One day, he’d beam, “You and I will race in the swiftsure”. Knowing now about the swiftsure race I wonder if he planned to sail our little 14 foot craft in it, haha!
A seed of an idea was born! Chris and I talked about it and I knew I wanted to walk ‘him’ around town and then take ‘him’ sailing and release Dad’s ashes at sea. That felt good, that felt right. I had two sailing friends who, full of love, offered to take me. We had a plan.
Months and months went by and I just couldn’t bring myself to making it happen. Then our son and his girlfriend came to visit and I knew, it was time, Joe was close to Poppa so I checked in with him (and Anna) and they said they’d be honoured to be a part of the ceremony.
One of the two sailing friends who said they’d escort me to sea was away so that part of the decision was easy, blessedly, Mike was eager and willing to help.
With my share of Dad’s ashes and surrounded by love I set out to say goodbye again, differently… in a special way. I awoke early that morning, and panicked, what does a ceremony at sea look like? I googled. All I could find was marketing for businesses that do this sort of thing, so I scanned those webpages to see if anything revealed itself. Nothing, except, ‘Be sure the wind is favourable when you sprinkle”. Eeh gad, how morbid… yet practical! I texted Captain Mike, he said no worries, he’d be on top of it. I closed my computer and closed my eyes and thought, what would be a memorable send off? I decided to ask those accompanying me if they’d each do one thing.
Our mighty captain took us to the perfect spot. As we arrived at what Mike called the ledge, Mike called to me “Cin, it’s time”. Unbelievably, we came upon a bounty of water lilies. Mike said is was a sign, we all agreed!
A man of great warmth
proud and strong
wise and humble
he has given much
this family man
and in his passing
he has more to give
if we let him
Let us remember
for to know such a man
is a privilege and a gift
and where he is now
above us all
he is content
and watches over us
our family man.
Chris wrote a song for Dad, he strummed and sang it, listen to it here.
Anna collected flowers and sprinkled them in the water.
Annette, a good friend, took photos and more.
Mike’s boat is Indian Summer.
Chris said a toast and we hoIsted a shot of rye for dad. Then we sailed, a first for both Anna and Joe. Dad would have liked that!
Thanks to all who helped me through this. I love YOU!
Why share such a personal ceremony? I never knew it could be so comforting and if you ever desire something similar, I’d say, go for it.
Speaking of comforting, I just found this note sent to my brothers and sister and me, prior to us learning Dad had cancer. It was days before his 67th birthday and Canadian thanksgiving and we were getting ready to go visit. Dad would cook turkey and ham and all the fixin’s as usual and then we got the call… Dad was actually telling us not to come as he was so tired. That was our tip off that Dad had more than just a cough. Dad NEVER asked us to stay away. So unbeknownst to him we took the trek, anyway.
My brothers ex, our sister-in-law sent us this note:
“If you are heading to the island to be with your Dad, take a deep breath. Arriving stressed and frantic isn’t going to help him. He is an old fashioned knight in shining armour. He is going to be trying to protect you. Freak out right up until you are 15 minutes away from him, then start to breathe, think about how you want him to feel and then be the sunshine in his life you have always been. I send this this message with all the love and support you can imagine. And no matter what happens – Experience every moment, don’t let anything necessary go unsaid. Say I love you a lot – to everyone involved that this experience is affecting. So much love and support – please share my thoughts and support with the rest of the family. This message is meant for all of them. – Love Amy”
Dad died one month later.
Amy’s words of wisdom were apropos then, now and always.
This photo reminds me of my fear of water, at the time. Dad begged me to jump to him and I just couldn’t. One day I made the leap and he was there…
Experience every moment,
Don’t let anything necessary go unsaid.
Say I love you a lot!
Inspire someone today!
Not feeling it? Be Kind. Be Generous. BE LOVE!