Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Letting Go

Memorial Day-  it will forever have a different meaning for me. This weekend changed that.  It was always a weekend of remembrance for those who gave everything in defense of our country's freedom. My freedom. My children's freedom.  But 2015 Memorial Day was much more. It was the weekend of saying goodbye to my father once again. Although he died last June, almost a year ago now, I had not yet scattered his ashes as he had requested. I was waiting, clinging on to what...I don't know. But I did know it was time, time to let him go and fulfill his wishes. It was his wish to be scattered on a body of water that he loved very dearly. (For the privacy of my family, I will not reveal location.)

My father loved the water...always did. He grew up partly in West Virginia and partly in Essex, Maryland where he owned his own little fishing boat from an early age. As he grew up the water was always a part of his life and then when he married my mother and had kids, he passed the tradition on to us. He used to take us out on the boat every summer to ski, tube, swim, relax, and just enjoy being surrounded by the element that makes up so much of our own bodies. He used to say, quoting Jimmy Buffett, that he was a pirate born 200 years too late. If he could have, I believe he would have made his profession on the water. But, as it was, he was his own sort of pirate...a truck driver that sailed the highways instead of the sea.

To honor my father the best way I knew how, I kayaked into a special place where he would have loved, paddled around a bit to take in the early morning surroundings and be at quiet peace with my father's spirit.  Then, I quietly played my father's favorite song, Son of a Son of a Sailor, on my phone and spread his ashes, making him one with the water that he felt he belonged to.  It was a deeply sad moment for me, but I also had a deep feeling of release, of letting go, of setting my father free.

So, yes, Memorial Day weekend will from now on take on a new meaning for me. Not only will I honor our fallen Veterans, but also I will honor my father. Perhaps I will kayak out to this very special place each year. Perhaps I will play Jimmy Buffett again and just remember him, like I do every day, but feel more close to him floating upon the water he loved so much.

A Pirate Looks at Forty by Jimmy Buffett

Mother, mother ocean, I have heard you call
Wanted to sail upon your waters since I was three feet tall
You've seen it all, you've seen it all
Watched the men who rode you switch from sails to steam
And in your belly you hold the treasures few have ever seen
Most of them dream, most of them dream.

Yes I am a pirate, two hundred years too late
The cannons don't thunder, there's nothing to plunder
I'm an over-forty victim of fate
Arriving too late, arriving too late.

I've done a bit of smuggling, I've run my share of grass
I made enough money to buy Miami, but I pissed it away so fast
Never meant to last, never meant to last.

And I have been drunk now for over two weeks
I passed out and I rallied and I sprung a few leaks
But I got stop wishing, got to go fishing, down to rock bottom again
Just a few friends, just a few friends.

I go for younger women, lived with several a while
Though I ran them away, they'd come back one day
Still could manage to smile
Just takes a while, just takes a while.

Mother, mother ocean, after all the years I've found
My occupational hazard being my occupation's just not around
I feel like I've drowned, gonna head uptown
I feel like I've drowned, gonna head uptown.

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