My Father’s Ashes

My father wrote this about his father’s passing…

My Father’s Ashes

My sister and I rode alone to the crematorium, where we watched the body of my father and his unfulfilled hopes fed the flames. It was a terrible sight. My sister wept but I did not. At least, cremation served one practical purpose. There would be no grave to visit in the future when death intruded inconveniently upon the living. My father would be the first to endorse that…

I parked my car at the foot of the pier and looked about to be sure I was alone. I walked out to the end of the pier where a single lamplight illuminated the water washing against the pilings. I stood under it and removed the plastic bag from the brown bag. I thought of removing the tag from the plastic bag but I decided against it. I did not want the remains of my father’s life to be unknown if they washed up on some distant shore. I flung the plastic bag of bones with the legend – The Mortal Remains of Cesare Ebreo, far out into the surface of the East River and I thought of Keat’s epitaph: Here lies one whose name is writ on water. It fitted my father far more than Keats. The plastic floated within my sight for a long time. A fresh wind came up, rippling the water. I watched the current catch that unique piece of flotsam and carry it out toward the channel and the open sea. And I had a final thought. Perhaps it will be carried across the Atlantic and into the Mediterranean and be washed up on the shore of his beloved Italy. Perhaps he will go home again – finally. He would have liked that. Requiescat in pace.

This is where we spread my father’s ashes. Under the great white oak, a tree with massive strength and presence, much like my Papa.

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