A Fond Farewell

My children spread their father’s ashes on the Vineyard last week.  It is what he wanted.  He died in February and there was a small celebration of his life held in Boston in April.  This was the last of the tasks that David and Leigh needed to complete.  They sold his house last month and they knew they needed to wait until September when they both could make a trip to the Vineyard together.

Alan and I had been on the Vineyard for two weeks before they both arrived on Monday.  After a few days of just settling in and being together for the first time in a long while, they discussed their plan.  It was interesting to learn that they each had their own concept of how they wished to accomplish the task.  David envisioned simply swishing the entire contents of the receptacle into the water on Lamberts Cove Beach, but Leigh wanted to take a drive around the island and spread a little here and there.  After all, it is what Kit really liked to do best on the island–drive around and take in the beauty of it all.  They settled on a plan to do both, and to include me on the drive up-island, so that I could take part as well.  I was honored and pleased about that.

After spending a delightful afternoon at the beach we started on our little drive.  With the three of us in the car, we each participated in spreading cups full of Kit’s ashes—a little on Lamberts Cove Road, a little where Humphrey’s Bakery used to be, then on North Road on the way to Menemsha.  When we arrived at Menemsha, David was clear that he wanted to go out to the tip of the jetty.  We three started on that walk together, but I reached about half way and stopped; it was getting a little harder for me to navigate the rocks, and I told them to go on ahead–I would just wait right there for them.  I realized at that moment that it was what I did thirty years ago–Kit would take them all the way out to the tip and I watched.  I watched them every step of the way and I stood there mesmerized as my two children followed their father’s wishes and peacefully left a little bit of him in the waters off of Menemsha.  They were silhouetted against the skyline out there at the tip of the jetty and it was beautiful.  I choked back tears, but I felt so privileged to be a part of it all.

Then we returned back to the house on Lamberts Cove Road and dropped some ashes in the garden beside the house.  Kit had made the raised beds there many years ago.  My part was over.  Then Leigh and David went into the shed to each select some kind of receptacle in which the remaining ashes would be placed to take to Lamberts Cove Beach to say a final goodbye.  It was 6:30 p.m. by then with the sun just set and the beach taking on a beautiful light.  They walked way out past the big rock and flung out their individual receptacles–David chose a wooden box and Leigh chose a glass vase (she wanted beach glass to remain).  David videoed the scene and shared it with us as they returned home.  It was absolutely lovely.

Once again I am so proud of both of them and how they have handled this difficult time in their lives.  They did their dad proud.  I know he would be pleased. And I am grateful that I shared a little piece of it.

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