Today my brother, my son, and I met at the jetty at 7:00 a.m. to honor Dad. We were informed by the cremation organization we worked with that our dad’s ashes would be scattered two miles out from the end of the jetty. Dad was in the navy during WWII, and all his life he loved the ocean. He loved swimming and boating, and this was one of his favorite places to go to gaze at the ocean. Unfortunately, the organization refused to provide us with a window of time when we could see the boat. At first, they wouldn’t even disclose the date of the scattering, because that would’ve been a massive up-charge from the original $1,600. While we couldn’t narrow down a time, with some authentic waterworks, I was able to persuade them to at least give us a date.
It was about an hour and a half of sitting together and getting to know the brother I really have never known all that well. Death brings unexpected surprises. Death heals some things.
While the three of us sat on the bench, a persistent hummingbird repeatedly returned to the flowers directly before us. It was a beautiful setting. Gazing at the Pacific Ocean as the backdrop, we recounted how Dad loved his hummingbird feeders and how he delighted when one would come to the feeder just outside his kitchen window.
I don’t know what you believe, but somehow, I felt this Allen’s hummingbird was Dad’s way of telling us he knew we were there to honor him. And he would have been thrilled that my brother and I were finally getting to know a little more about the last 40 years of each other’s lives.
Eventually we were all talked out. We collectively decided to designate the next boat to come through as “Dad’s” boat. Fittingly, the next vessel to come through the jetty was named Nautilus. According to Merriam-Webster.com, nautilus is from the Greek nautilos, meaning sailor. We silently watched as the Nautilus made its way out of the jetty at 4.4 knots, into the vast Pacific Ocean.
Grieving and gratitude lead to acceptance.
Sally Bartlett, ©2021