Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A Family Tradition

I am having trouble setting the tone for this post.  Death is always a touchy subject, so a post about family funerary tradition is definitely a little unusual.  The hard part about writing this is setting a tone that is positive and reflective without people assuming I am sad.  Actually, I'm in a good place as I write this, but its hard to get that across and respect the topic at the same time. 

When I was a kid, our family took a vacation to New England.  One day, near Boston, my father took us all to a cove with a fishing port.  He said, "This cove is a place your grandmother loved and was close to where she grew up.  At her request, her ashes were spread on the waters of the cove after she died."  From then on, this beautiful place is how I remember her.

That was my first introduction to our family tradition, where a family member's ashes are spread at a place that they loved and later members of the family visit and keep the memory of that place with the memory of their ancestor.  If you think about it, it is really quite different than burial beneath a stone in some cemetery.  Of course, cemeteries can be beautiful and genealogist certainly prefer the record of a stone, but I prefer the scattered ashes approach because it is both more memorable and can be very personal.

The tradition continues.  In his retirement, my grandfather traveled all over the US, Canada, and Mexico.  In the end, he settled down at Sanibel Island, Florida and his ashes are scattered at the place he loved.

A friend of mine chose something a little different.  He loved car racing and racing at Waterford in particular.  He chose to have his ashes placed on the wings and bodywork of race cars at Waterford so that his ashes would be spread around the track on a memorial parade lap.  Pretty neat.

About 20 years ago, I borrowed a Jeep and my father and I toured all over the Rocky Mountains.  After bouncing over rocky passes and relaxing in lush valleys, my father decided on a quiet mountain valley where he scattered my mothers ashes.  Both of my mother and father loved these mountains and he was fulfilling her wishes.  This year, we traveled back to that valley for a visit.  And so, the tradition continues.

 My mother loved the mountain wild flowers and we were lucky to visit the valley when the flowers were in bloom.  Above is the state flower, Colorado Blue Columbine.

A few Indian Paintbrush.

When my time comes, I want my family to continue this fine tradition.  As I am getting older, I guess I better decide on a good place that means something to me.  I guess they could put me in that same mountain valley unless I come up with a better idea.

Enjoy all the good memories of your family and friends and think thoughts of beautiful places.

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