Archive for January, 2015

The Last Promise Kept

January 18, 2015

When my Dad died in 2000, he had arranged to be cremated and his ashes scattered by plane on the Sound.  I don’t know when he arranged it, but in 2000, the plane company had gone out of business. So Mom kept his ashes in the bureau.  About 3 or 4 years ago, while Mom was still lucid, she became antsy about arrangements for her.  I thought she and Dad had done them together, but apparently not.  So we took her over to Cady Cremation (I had met them through Breakfast Club) to make the arrangement.  She was to be cremated and was insistent that it be written down that her ashes were to be mixed with Dad’s.

I found out you can take a ferry and have ashes dropped in the Sound, so she was fine with that.  The ashes have been here since late October because it seemed their anniversary was the right time to do it.  So I called the Washington State Ferries but only got a voicemail on Monday.  I called again Tuesday – same thing.  By Wednesday I was getting uptight because they say 3 – 5 days notice.

I had another voicemail message, so I called the main number to explain what was happening.  Turns out the woman who does the booking was sitting at her desk.  So I was told to call the number and the woman knew I would be calling.  What a relief.  She was away on Monday and swamped on Tuesday, but she was able to help me so I could do it on Friday – their anniversary.

I wanted to do it on the Fauntleroy to Vashon ferry, but that was booked.  So I made arrangements for the Edmonds to Kingston ferry at 11:10.  She explained I was to go to the 2nd Mate’s office after the ferry left and let him know I was there.  Then he would make arrangements for the captain to stop halfway and I would have 5 minutes to release the ashes.  She also said I could bring flowers, but they had to be all natural – no wire or floral tape.  It sounded fairly straightforward but I will admit to being apprehensive and unsure how it would go. It had been a weight on me and I wanted to complete it for Mom and Dad.

I didn’t want to do it by myself, so I asked my close friend Vickie, my long time friend Charlotte and my next door neighbor to be with me.  All three were pleased to be with me.  Vickie only knew my Mom because I met her when I came back in 2002.  Luzma and Charlotte knew both Mom and Dad,  both felt close to them.  I’d say Dad and Vickie would have enjoyed each other’s company – Dad was always welcoming to people and enjoyed talking to them.

Vickie came at 9:30 and brought flowers, Luzma came a couple of minutes later – with 2 roses.  We drove up to Edmonds and met Charlotte at a QFC outside town – she lives in Mountlake Terrace and it was more convenient for her.  We drove down to the ferry and were in time for the 10:30 ferry – but they were expecting us on the 11:10.  There was a woman directing traffic and when I explained to her, she had us wait until the ferry was loaded and then we got in line.

I figured it would be a wet, windy and cold day – I was pleased and amazed to see clear sunshine and a beautiful day.  We rode on the Spokane.  I had hoped but wasn’t sure how it would be – I asked God to work out the whole thing, I would just show up and get out of the way.  It couldn’t have been a more lovely day for it.

Vickie and Char went to the stern to wait – I went up to the 2nd Mate’s office with Luzma.  Man, do they have steep stairs on the ferry – later we found there was an elevator.  I was so out of breath, but I made it and had time to sit and catch my breath.  We went down tot he car deck – going down isn’t quite so strenuous.  The crew was so great and understanding.  I stood by the rail – they would only let me do it – I released their ashes to the Sound.  Then as the ferry started up, Vickie and Luzma threw their flowers onto the water for them as well.

I thought I would be very drippy and teary, but only a bit as I released the ashes.  As they went into the water, I said “For you Mom and Dad on your anniversary.  The last wish fulfilled, the last promise kept.  May you spirits soar in love, peace and joy.”  I really didn’t know what I was feeling – not even sure if I felt anything.  I found myself coughing a lot, not sure what that was about.  I wondered if I was holding everything in rather than expressing it – still feel that way now.

They also gave me a certificate – a gorgeous photo of a sunset and they had Mom and Dad’s names, the date as well as latitude and longitude.  The only reason I don’t have it in the post is because I am not sure where in the car it is.  I can’t find it – bummer – and I need to ask Vickie where she put it for me.  I need to check the car again.

We came to Kingston and went to have some lunch – I wanted to buy them lunch to thank all of them for being there and supporting me.  We found a place that is about to move to Silverdale, but still open.  We had a great lunch and all three were having a good time.  Luzma was quiet and Char said she was a bit teary when I released the ashes.  I hope she had a good time.

Then it was time to take the ferry back – I may have been more quiet than usual, not sure what I was thinking or feeling.  I thought there would be a feeling release and relief, but there wasn’t anything.  We dropped Charlotte back at QFC and we drove home.  I dropped Luzma next door and then Vickie drove home.  I went inside and suddenly very tired.  I just sat like a bump on a log, I think I was tired mentally, emotionally and physically.  Eddie was late coming home, so we just had something light.  We went to bed at 9 at 9 and I slept hard – got up a couple of times for the bathroom.

I haven’t been crying or upset, I just am.  Maybe it just hasn’t sunk in yet.

I looked in the bag and by George, there was the certificate.  what a relief!

Ferry Certificate

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I Am Still Here – Somewhere

January 11, 2015

I just realized it has been more than 3 weeks since my last post – I’ve been around but not necessarily with it.  After 3 months, I decided it was time to stop pushing aside grieving for my Mom and Dad, too many oddball things were showing up and I need to deal with it.  I was upset when I decided to end my radio show for a while – going on hiatus while I do major self-care – and will be back doing it again in the future.  I don’t want to spend the rest of my days somewhere in neutral and drag my butt tired.

Eddie and I went to Toronto for a few days for Christmas with our niece and her family – no ice storm this year.  It was 40’s and 50’s with some rain, just like Seattle.  However, I am glad we aren’t there at the moment, they have cold, ice and snow right now.  I have some photos from my sister Ellen  at the Jersey shore showing snow.

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 This one came this morning

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 This was earlier in the week – so amazing!

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Ellen really knows how to compose a great picture.

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This one must have been uncomfortable because the snow was blowing all over.

We had a wonderful time in Toronto – I found myself noticing after a day or so that I had not thought about here or what was happening, I was completely there.  It’s not that we did much, at least I didn’t.  It was a delight to just enjoy their company and relax.

 I have to admit to feeling a bit left out because I only understand about half of what was said, so I asked for a major attitude overhaul.  What a change in my way of looking at the situation.  NEWS FLASH!  It’s not about me.  It is a time for Eddie to speak Arabic with people he cares about and who know exactly what he is talking about – most it is about the past, people they know in common and situations.  They also imitate the way some they knew spoke Arabic – only they understand the joke and why it is funny.

Christmas Eve we watched the service from the church in Bethlehem, then went out for a wonderful dinner.  Christmas afternoon we went to Raouf’s uncle’s house – and 30 of his close relatives.  There are probably another 30 we didn’t meet that night, there is always next year.  I spent a lot of time talking to his Uncle John.  He’s a very interesting guy and so easy to talk with – I found out more of his history on the drive home.

We left on Boxing Day in the evening – Eddie isn’t quite sure why he arranged only 3 days.  We had a wonderful time, though it was so good to be back home and in our own bed.

After we came home, I called Hospice of Seattle to find out about their grief support group.  It is a 6 week course, then often the group decides to continue meeting after the end of the  6 weeks.  It starts this Tuesday and will be for the next 6 Tuesdays.  I don’t know what it will be, I am open to what ever works for me.

I found the book “When Bad Things Happen To Good People” in the library – I had heard it was a really good book for grieving.  Unfortunately I didn’t find it helpful – I don’t need to find a reason Mom is gone – it was time and it was her wish as well as relief.  It is more explaining about the whys – I don’t need that.  I am glad I checked it out, now I know what is about.

I have some other things to check out – some of this by guess and by gosh, some are suggestions from other people – I am open and receptive to anything.  I am open and willing to explore things and ideas to see how they resonate.  This is so individual that it is more challenging than if there is a set formula.  Maybe I will start to look at it as adventure rather than as something to be overcome.  I am working to put it into words for myself – there really aren’t any pictures in my mind yet.

I bought an iPhone last Saturday – my Christmas and birthday present.  It is cool and I went Tuesday to learn how to use it.  I have another appointment this Tuesday to learn more.  They were able to download my list from my old phone and I finally got my pictures downloaded as well – not quite as easily.  However, the number is the same and I don’t have to go through that balderdash again.

I downloaded the new system Yosemite at home in November or December and my computer has been a bit wonky in some places.  I took it in on Saturday afternoon – what a zoo not only at the Apple store, but all over the mall as well.  Anyway, I told them about it and Nicole thought the best thing to do was reinstall Yosemite there and it would install over the one I did.  It was going to take an hour, so I went for coffee and by 5 I was ready to go.

Meanwhile Eddie was home doing the laundry and cooking dinner – what a delightful husband!  He had done all the shopping in the morning by himself because I had woken up in the middle of the night feeling as if at least a Hummer or something bigger had driven over me from feet to head and up my back.  I am not sure what happened, I was doing well the day before and the one before that – no clue why.  By late morning I was doing a lot better – thanks to Advil at night and in the morning.

Life is definitely an adventure.  I found this picture the other day and in some ways it’s how I feel – I don’t know how I got here and I have no idea where it leads, but at the moment, I am here and safe.

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