I’m an orphan now. I took my father on his last plane ride, traveled through several states, and said all there is to say in three of his favorite places on earth. Well, at least the places that he shared with me.
The third act seemed anticlimactic, yet not any easier than the first time. I feel guilty about putting him to peace, to giving him back to the earth, and then thinking about what to do with my day. Sitting here drinking coffee, listening to tourists while his ashes melt away and ebb and flow in the harbor nearby.
Is it normal to feel no different? Did all the grief slip through me with the words, “I’m sorry. There was nothing more we could do.” Or the first trip to a sea of forty years of shared memories?
The second of three trips to lay my father in a place he may or may not have wanted to come back to. He spoke little of his past, told tall stories with a straight face and repeated ocean tales as big as they come.
Life existed to be tolerated without the age of grace to take the edge off it was a hard way to go. As the years wore on the edges blurred slightly burning with bitterness or settling contentment. It’s what disappeared with time that I lost because it was never there. No warm and fuzzy memories, no thoughtful conversations, no reminiscing. He was not built like that; so his past, good and bad, disappeared into his failing memory and finally vanished in his death.
It’s hard to mourn something you have no memories of. Is it the mourning of the man, the position of his life in yours, or the connection, good or bad, that is missed?