Kim had invited us to dinner (as her guests), in Katie's memory. So Gregg, David, my mom, dad & I drove to town, and sat in the cozy booth in the back corner of the restaurant. We brought a bouquet of flowers for Kim.
We had a delicious, generous and wonderful dinner, accompanied by two bottles of delectable Washington Sangiovese. We propped Katie's photo up on the table. We drank toasts to her, with love.
After dinner, we drove to Mom & Dad's house, took one box of Katie's ashes (we have two of them) and an assortment of beautiful fresh flowers, and rowed a short distance out in front of the house.
I gently placed the box of Katie's ashes, and the bouquet of flowers, in the water. We each tossed in a long-stemmed red rose, with our love. Then we watched, as the box slowly absorbed the saltwater that was so familiar to her - the water she had played in, floated on, splashed in, and boated on - and the flowers dispersed. The box began to sink. It was designed to disintegrate, and gradually, naturally and gently allow the ashes to escape, drift and become part of the sea. Now, every day, we can look out and know that her DNA is in the water that touches us...the water where - someday- our ashes will be scattered, too.
Though it was peaceful and beautiful, I find that this act has made me feel sadder, instead of comforted. I thought it was a step that we "had to" take, because we had planned it, and Gregg was ready, but in fact, it is just another part of the enormous loss with which we live every day. Though Katie directed the plans for her ashes, I am not yet ready to let any more of them go. I want to hoard them, but we have promised her that "Part 2" of her ashes will be set afloat at Camp Goodtimes. That was Katie's request, and we will honor it; we are just not ready to do it now. And I believe that it is right to wait until we are ready.
I had the pleasure of spending some time this week with Katie's best friend. We looked at photos, and shared stories and memories. It was lovely to chatter away, and recall the good times that they had together from the very beginning of their lives, to the end of Katie's life. This young lady was a true friend, all through, and was the contemporary who Katie trusted the most out of all of her peers. Yet, that, too has left me missing her sharply today: missing her smile, her laughter and humor, her wit and her spunk.
We are going to a family birthday party (Grandpa G. is turning 88!), but the weather is gray and cool, and it matches my interior mood.