The Last Promise Kept


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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2 Responses to “The Last Promise Kept”

  1. Charlotte Trayer Says:

    Well, I was going to tell you it was in the bag if you hadn’t found it–I saw Vickie put it in there!

    Actually, she handed me a flower, and you some flowers, too, so we all had flowers to toss into the water.

    We couldn’t have asked for better weather, especially for a January day!! Well, of course, *I* would always prefer snow, but not for that particular day!! 😉

    Now, give yourself a little time, my dear. You can’t schedule grief.

    See you Thursday! love, Char

    • Lee Kaplanian Says:

      I was going to check with Vickie if I couldn’t find it – I didn’t look on the other side of the bag. I am so glad you, Vickie and Luzma were there with me, it made it so much easier and I truly appreciated the support. Since it was a Celebration of Life, I’m glad we had such a good time together.

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