A cool mist had settled on the breeze, slowly chilling my exposed skin. The gray sky was streaked with patches of white, as though a painterís brush had gently stroked it while passing by, and squawking seagulls, with their wings outstretched, soared above us on the misty wind. I had been upset when I first stepped outside. There was no sunshine to bring a bit of warmth to my cold and desolate heart. The gray sky mocked me, enveloping me in a dreary embrace. The cold, damp breeze seeped into my body so that now I felt frozen on the inside and out.
We stood in a semi-circle, our little family group; separated by our lifestyles, bonded in our loss. Our mother was the one who had held the family together: passing along information of family life events, helping us to appreciate our differences and encouraging us to forgive, and bringing us together for holidays when if left to our own choice we would have stayed away. What would happen now that our anchor was gone - our family foundation - the rope that tied us to each other?
As I stood silently by the ocean with my brothers and sisters and our spouses, my mind drifted to memories of Mum. I can see her bustling around doing housework and caring for children, then rushing off to her work at the bank. I can hear her exasperated sigh as she realizes that I did not do the dishes after dinner, and her laughter as she tells a joke that she thinks is funny. I see the tilt of her head and the light in her eyes when she is happy, or laughing, or proud.
Mum had let it be known that when she passed, she wished to be cremated and her ashes scattered in the ocean. She shared that when her own mother, our Nana Lucy, had died she requested the same thing, and whenever Mum passed by the ocean she pictured her mum skipping along the waves.
I stood there numbly, a deep ache in my heart, a hollow sadness in my eyes as I thought of all the things Mum would miss; her grandchildren growing up, and the ones to come who had not even yet been thought of. Birthdays and anniversaries. Thanksgiving dinners and Christmases. Tears spilled down my face. These events would never be the same.
My heart cries out in a flash of pain and gnawing loss! Do you know, Mum? Do you know how much your children love you? Do you know that your constant love and affection, which came so naturally, were what we all needed to offset Dadís inattentive ways? Do you know that caring people will live on and grace the world because of the love you bestowed upon your children?
I can hear Mumís laugh in the ocean breeze and it comforts me.
Suddenly I am aware of the mist upon my face, and it seems as though God & His angels are offering gentle tears of condolence. The gray sky empathizes with the sorrow in my heart, and envelopes me in a comforting hug. The day is perfect for the task at hand. Nature has come to join us in our grieving ceremony.
Our eldest bother held the ash-filled box close to him. Our oldest sister led us in a beautiful prayer of thanks to God for the life of our mother, for giving us the honor of being her children, and for comfort for all of us as we dealt with our ultimate loss of her.
We were all crying now, and hands reached out to comfort. As our brother slowly scattered the ashes into the ocean, tears slid freely down our faces and sobs shook our bodies. The carnations we held in our hands were symbols of our deep love for our mother, and we tossed them into the ocean, where they made a lovely memorial to Mum Ė skipping along the waves with her.