Monday, May 20, 2013

The Final Wish






 By Mark W. Danielson

My dad always wanted his ashes scattered.  I had frequently performed that task many years ago when I was a charter pilot, so when my father passed last September, I promised Mom I would fulfill Dad’s wish this spring when I ferried my airplane from Seattle to Fort Worth.

I had planned to fly from Fort Worth to Seattle on American Airlines on Mother’s Day and meet Mom that evening, but with the Seattle weather was expected to turn sour that day, I left the day before.  Leaving early turned out to be a blessing as it was a beautiful flight seeing all of the volcanoes, and I was able to spend Mother’s Day with Mom.

My brother joined me for Dad’s last flight and the weather couldn’t have been more perfect.  Smooth air and excellent visibility had my brother smiling the whole way.  It was nice that the coastal fog ended just northwest of Tamales Bay because that area is where I had chosen to make the drop.  When I was sufficiently out to sea, I opened the window, held onto the bag, and gently scattered Dad’s ashes over the Pacific he once sailed in the Navy.  My brother and I said our final good-bye, knowing how much this meant to Mom and Dad. 

I doubt I will ever perform that task again, and certainly not in my airplane as it is far too slow to make the return trip to California.  Still, this was a special flight filled with good memories, and I was elated knowing Dad smiling from above.      

9 comments:

Bill Kirton said...

Wonderful bit of personal sharing, Mark. Very special. Thanks.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Thanks Bill. It was one of those days when everything went right.

Rancho Califonria RV Lot said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark W. Danielson said...

I received this wonderful comment, which somehow got deleted. "Beautifully said, Mark, and understood. Carrying out a loved one's wishes while coping with their loss is a very emotional experience." Ceremonies such as scattering ashes bring comfort to the living and add finality to one's passing. It was a privilege to have made this occasion so memorable.

Jean Henry Mead said...

My comment, Mark. I have no idea why it was removed. I've gone through something similar, although without the plane.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Jean, I hope you didn't drive your RV into the Pacific!

Jean Henry Mead said...

lol, Mark, no, but it was a huge lake in Texas. Boats work quite well in lakes.

Carola Dunn said...

My mother's brother's children decided to scatter his ashes at sea in Scotland, although he wasn't keen on Scotland in general. All the family turned up, but my uncle didn't. His ashes were found eventually on a shelf in the back of a post office where they had reposed with a torn label or something of the sort for a considerable time. Despite this otherworldly protest, the ashes were later scattered at sea in Scotland, without the family gathering--only his dtr who lives there.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Not so funny that you mention this, Carola. My wife's father's remains were among hundreds in a California scam left in a remote location rather than scattered in accordance with the family's wishes. This is one task that is usually best done yourself so everyone is at peace.