Ten years ago tomorrow, November 30, 2001 my father died. Amongst the things I remember about this day is that Beattle George Harrison Died the previous day, but the news escaped me until the morning of my father’s passing. I also remember hearing a horrible Christmas song that morning about a young boy wanting to buy some new shoes for his dyeing mother. The song probably isn’t that bad. I guess a lot of people liked it. They made a TV movie about it. But I hated it. It always brought me back to the day I lost my Dad.
Losing my Dad was far more emotional and troubling than I would have ever predicted prior to its occurrence. I was a basket case for at least six months. I thought about him daily. And then slowly over time it got better.
At my Dad’s request he was cremated. Cheap and/or practical to the end. I bought the urn. His remains were kept in the possession of his widow. Not my Mom. She had been married to him his last 20 years beginning my Senior year in High School. Initially she talked of spreading his ashes in a couple of locations in Eastern Washington where my Dad frequently went camping in one of his RV’s (He rented RV’s for a living. So he had many over the years). But that never seemed right to me. Sadly I didn’t have a good alternative. It’s all just as well because the idea of spreading his ashes drifted away and never occurred.
My Dad’s widow died 2 months ago. I took possession of his ashes, and a few small items of his that she’d retained over the previous ten years. My office is now decorated with mallards, as my house was growing up.
Keeping his ashes in my home is not an alternative. He never saw this house. I bought it 2 years after his death. Keeping him here just wouldn’t be fitting. Fortunately I actually thought of the perfect place to spread his ashes, and that is what I am doing tomorrow
. I will drive up to Bellingham, where my father was born. Along the way I’m picking up his brother, my Uncle. Together we will drive to a favorite spot of my Dad’s along the Puget Sound waters south of the Canadian border. He spent countless days in this place as a kid. He took me and my brother to this place time and again. And in my 24 years as a father I have taken my family here innumerable times. I will dig a small hole in the beach when the tide is out, and will deposit his remains there, amongst the clams, and muscles and crab. I will then say a prayer. And then I will say goodbye Dad…again.