Sunday, November 17th, 2012 eighteen good people took Jim’s ashes to sea. Jim had requested being buried in the Pacific Ocean and so on an incredibly beautiful, sunny day we took him to sea. We sailed on the Aolani, a 58’ Sunchaser American Catamaran with a wonderful crew.
The week prior to this sailing I worried. It was a blustery and cold week here in San Diego and we had rain. They were predicting rain for that Saturday So I fussed and worried. On Saturday morning I got up and the sky was filled with clouds and sun. We were a go. At 10 am The Aolani sailed with all 18 on board. Even my 88 year old mother-in-law, Dotty, went out front and sat on the rigging. As we set sail the clouds disappeared and the sun shone down on a glassy, quiet ocean. It was amazingly beautiful. Sailing out the boat was accompanied by 2 dolphins and it was perfect.
Reaching past Point Loma the motor shut down and we all improvised a ceremony to say farewell to this kind and wonderful man. Therese read a song in Japanese. Beth sang Simple Gifts. Cynthia handed out carnations which we tossed into the water with the bio-degradable urn that held the ashes. Henry emptied a bottle of Guinness Stout and Dotty tossed a small bell that Jim had been given at his birth. I like to think that the Dolphins now have that small bell. Jim’s best friend, Brian and I floated the ashes out to sea. Everyone that was aboard that day felt the specialness of the occasion. It was a very unique moment in time, fitting for Jim who was a unique being.
After we said farewell we went inside and ate chocolate. This was also fitting for the man who loved good chocolate. For two hours, on one day a bond was formed by everyone who was present on board this catamaran. We shared in a perfect moment in time. Even though it was hard and melancholic it was also perfect. I could not have been with a finer group of people. Their support was and still is so lifting and loving. I am loved by good people and I honor them.
When we returned to port Dotty and my sister-in-law, Judy started the drive north. They got about one hour north of San Diego and were in the rain for the rest of the trip to Los Angeles. Ah, there was the rain we were expecting. It made me feel like we were surrounded in a bubble of perfection that only could have been here and on that bay for that one day.
I wanted to share with you this event in my life and the lives of the eighteen that rode with me. Everything except the boat ride was unplanned and spontaneous. It became a perfect farewell to a good man. By the end of these two hours at least two people planned to changed their will because this was so beautiful and right. Was everyone there that wanted to be? No. I feel that those who needed to be on board the Aolani that day, were there.
I have been emotionally all over the place this past week. When the anniversary of his death was marked a month ago, it was not hard. I have been experiencing so many different emotions over this past week. I miss Jim. I miss his voice, our conversations, his arms and the fun we had together. I carry him very close at times as I am settling into this new lifestyle. I am allowed to miss him and I am allowed to move on. I can do all this at the same time and it is OK. After I met him I never expected that I would be by myself so soon again. And yet, here I am. And I am doing OK. And I miss him.
Today I am thankful for the perfect moments I have experienced in my life. I am so thankful for my friends and their on-going love and support. I am more fully human right now than I have ever been before in my life. And…so are you. Jim is now swimming with the dolphins. When I go to the Pacific I see him everywhere and that is good. I hope somewhere someone is ringing that small bell.