Well, I did it. I released him. I won’t call it “saying goodbye”, as I had previously written; I will simply say I released him.
I went to say goodbye. I walked his ashes down to the water with the intention of saying goodbye, but as the ashes scattered in the wind and drifted down to the waves below, I knew it was just me releasing him, and that he would always be there whenever I wanted to visit and say hello.
A few weeks ago I went on a trip to Europe. This trip was planned as part of a personal quest to get to know myself. This trip was something I wanted and needed. Something to push me outside of my comfort zone, test my character and give me the time alone to explore who I am, what I want and where I want to go in my life. And to have some fabulous adventures along the way, of course!
I knew the trip was going to be special. It was not going to be be just an average “holiday”, but rather a turning point. A new chapter. Perhaps even the beginning of a new story all together.
With this in mind, I knew it was time to let him go. The morning before I boarded my flight to Stockholm, I took the small wooden box containing his ashes down to the water. With my black leather boots protecting me from from puddles and my polka dot umbrella shielding my face from the rain, I rounded the back of the pier. Luckily there were only a few fisherman out that day, so it didn’t take me long to find a corner to be alone with him.
I stood there in the rain. I had my ear buds in and listened to a sweet, slow melody as I reached into my purse and removed the small box. The wind calmed and the rain slowed to a drizzle. I collapsed the umbrella, resting it against the metal guard rail and held him in both of my hands. Then the tears came. But these were new tears, not the same I had shed for him time and time again. This time, the tears were letting him go – releasing him. The tears leaked out, rolling down my cheeks, salt kissing my lips and continuing down to pool around my neck.
I held him tight it my hands. I felt the box, the ridges and grooves where the inscription was carved. I slid back the cover and removed the small packet of ashes. I snipped the top with a small pair of scissors, looked inside and saw the pale gray dust start to move in the breeze. I held the bag out over the railing, tipped it upside down and watched as he caught the wind and gently floated to the waves.
I returned from my trip this past Monday. It was everything I had hoped it would be and more. Still basking in the glow of time spent reading on the beach in the South of France, meeting a psychic in Amsterdam, meditating with Deepak Chopra in Paris and all of the people I met and realizations I had along the way, I spent this week slowly integrating myself back into daily life, trying to carry with me all that happened while making sense of some of my personal reflections.
Today was the first Saturday in three weeks that I woke up in my own apartment. Instead of rushing to get out into the world to explore or be productive, I took it slow. I savored the morning, just as I would have if I was on holiday. I declined an invitation to meet up with a friend and opted for a day of solitude, choosing instead to read, write, stretch my legs in the sunshine, take a long afternoon nap and have a quiet night at home.
Outside, the sun beat hot upon my face. San Francisco is known to be overcast, with autumn-like weather the majority of the year. Today was unusually warm. On a day like today, the water beckons and you must obey. Heeding the siren’s call, I made my way to the Bay and stood there thinking Do I go left or right? Left or right? I chose left.
I chose to go and say hello to him and see how his new spot was. Today it was bright and sunny and hot – the pier filled with people. There were men fishing and families picnicking. There was a man sitting on a bench, playing his guitar and getting lost in the sound. A couple leaning against the building, taking shelter in the shade and giving their dog a bowl of water to drink. And right in front of where I spread his ashes, two men sitting on a bench drinking beer out of glass bottles – no brown bag. Proud and happily defiant. He would have liked that.
I squatted down to look at the aqua water and snap a picture of the beautiful day. The woman standing about twenty feet behind me, watched me closely. When I turned to leave, she didn’t even attempt to avert her eyes, she just watched. Her observing me, me observing the others, and him floating along the water, watching it all with a smile. There were no tears today, just peace.
This is the first time I have written about him without crying. I have finally let him go. I have let him go both literally and figuratively, evidenced by my sense of peace and lack of salty tears. He will always be a part of my past. Knowing him and loving him has shaped who I am today which will certainly impact who I will become in the future. But this next chapter is mine. Mine to write as I wish, carrying with me all that I have learned and all that I wish to experience.
And should I ever wish to say hello, I will simply walk my feet down to the Bay and watch the waves lap against the pier, where he dances on the water and observes the passersby – just as he always has.
P.S. Thank you for taking this journey with me. Your readership, friendship and support makes all the difference in the world. xo