Tuesday, August 22, 2017

A Dimming of the Light

     I don't know where you were during the eclipse. I was out on the golf course, in New York, where the moon covered 70 percent of the sun. But, honestly, the effect was minimal. We had some high whispy clouds, but nothing really covering the sun. The sky got slightly darker; the light turned brilliant like late afternoon; and then it was over.

     I was on my way home from attending a memorial service for my friend Joe. His ashes were buried at sea . . . or really, about a mile off the Rhode Island shore, near the Point Judith lighthouse. A lovely ceremony, with family and close friends. Then a larger gathering later on, with a few more people.

On a South Carolina golf course, circa 2009.
     Of course, it makes us think about how we ourselves would want to go, where we would want our remains. Both my parents were cremated, and their ashes are buried at their retirement home in Florida.

     My sister and I went down there once, a few years later, to view the site. But it didn't do much for me. It just didn't feel like my parents were there. It might be different if we had a family burial place. But we don't.

     The ship captain gave the family the exact coordinates of the burial spot. I don't know if they'll ever go back out to see it again . . . or if he'll still be there.

     But it was nice to get together with three old friends, the day after the service, to play a round of golf in honor of our departed colleague. He was a golfing friend, but also a work friend, a poker friend, a lunch companion. He held great Fourth of July parties -- he had a swimming pool and risked life and limb to light up a fireworks show every year. We vacationed together in South Carolina; our kids didn't know one another, but they were the same age, so we followed them growing up, going to college, getting married. And now his older daughter is pregnant.

     To tell the truth, he was a lousy golfer. But my world will be a little darker without him. He was a great guy, and would have made a wonderful grandfather.


Roberta Warshaw said...

I am sorry for your loss of your friend. Losing friends is really hard. They do leave a very big void.

Terra Hangen said...

Sorry to hear about your friend, it sounds like he had a good life, and that you will miss him.

Tabor said...

My experience with the eclipse was somewhat Meh, but I am glad that others got excited. Sorry that you have a new emptiness in your life, but it sounds like he made your life richer.

DJan said...

He sounds like he was a good friend, and sometimes having a golfing buddy you know you can outplay makes the friendship stronger. Thanks for sharing him with me. :-)

Stephen Hayes said...

My condolences on the loss of your friend. Take care.

joared said...

This is one of the most difficult aspects of getting older -- losing friends who depart this earth before us. Glad you have the memories.

happymioumiou said...

Thanks for sharing. My condolence for the loss.
All we need and have is memory. There is really no need to have a "family place", although we managed to own one for my beloved father 6 years ago. This April we buried my beloved younger brother, ONLY 51, who joined our father. All these years, I've been visiting the place and gradually I realized, especially after my brother's death, sea burial is probably one of the best ways for the living families and friends because
1. the deceased wouldn't like to see tears for every visits if they were alive
2. we don't need to visit a place with only the ashes of your beloved ones
and most of all, if we believe they are now in the forever reunion with our ancestors or in the Lord's another domain.

But personally I do have a little concern with the ocean ecology and the sea food cycle and then you know what I mean. If billions of ashes go to the ocean, what would it be like with the ocean water and the sea food? So, I'm still thinking about my prospective best end-up location, hummm will it be better to have a tree burial..hahaha because...I love trees?

Olga Hebert said...

I am sorry for your loss. You have written a touching tribute to a friend.

Still the Lucky Few said...

Your visit to the site where your parents are buried reminded me of a visit my husband and I made to a graveyard in Nova Scotia last year, to see his parent's grave. I was moved by the sadness he felt, not at his parents' passing, but at the futility of erecting a monument to real lives of real people you love. It was his first viewing of the grave since his parents' funeral, and I felt it would have been better if he had not gone—remembering his parents the way they were when alive would have been more meaningful.

Barbara - said...

My mother was buried in Beaufort, my father's ashes were spread in the sea on an island near there. For years we thought about putting alittle plaque for my dad next to mom's plaque. But the truth is that memory is in the memories, and we have all moved far away. In the next couple years here I will be spending some time on the east coast and go to see that. My husbands ashes are interred in Arlington, and again ,we had the ceremony and the plaque, and my daughter has gone once. but it's the memories that count now.

For the record, barb is now at richlyretired.blogspot.com. Sorry for the inconvenience there, but it was a better alternative than going back and forth for another week with google and blogger to find out to re-install the old one.

Janette said...

I am sorry for your loss. A great tribute that you all got together for a golf and a bit of chat in his memory.
We struggled with the grave idea. As an avid ,ember of ancestry.com, I have come to really appreciate graveyards. I have visited a number of relatives graves. Without them, we would have little record of their lives. I feel no sadness when I visit my dad and grandparent's graves, it just give me a place to really ponder. We have decided cremation and burial at Arlington (or another national gravesite). The kids know...