Thank you, everyone, for your sweet wishes, comments, emails. I appreciate every one and, like a famous starlet, wish I could respond to each individually. I have gotten hopelessly behind - I still owe thanks to the people who sent money for the NAMI walk I was supposed to have done...but I know you understand because you Internets are cool that way.
The ashes scattering is done. It was, as these things tend to be, sad and beautiful and goofy and sweet all at the same time. Lots of crying, lots of hugging.
"Our beach," where most of us hadn't been for 20 years or more, is still perfect and quiet and it still felt like ours (for the record - we never owned a beach. My dad managed a marine terminal for an oil company and thus, when we were growing up, we had access to this perfect little cove where oil tankers got filled up. The road in is still on rivate property with locked gates).
It was a glorious sunny day and the ocean was calm. There were pelicans and a sea lion to keep us company. Later I saw one dolphin, as I knew I would.
The gathering at my folks' house came together beautifully after only a dozen or so minor nervous breakdowns. The food was great (my nephew and I made slow-cooked chicken with olives and tomatoes; green beans with lemon vinaigrette; carrot salad with black mustard seeds and cashews; red potato salad with peas and fresh dill; and strawberry tiramisu. A lot of work but it kept me from sobbing for 2 days, so it was exactly what the doctor ordered. The strawberry tiramisu recipe is from Epicurious.com and is highly recommended.)
My eldest sister worked on arranging big purple and white dahlias into works of art when I was too tired to stand for one more second Friday night. Laura, who was a florist for years, would have approved.
We sat down at one table together and ate on real dishes for the first time in decades. Normally we are many and the table is small, so we grab a spot where we can. Many holidays have been passed sitting on the floor eating at the coffee table. But today it seemed like we should gather, and that is what we did.
I am so thankful for so many things. You, my interfriends, have been such a kind and indulgent audience and support. I appreciate every little comment. Hugs. Thanks for helping me live through this.