Letting Go, Together As One

We loved with a love that is more than love ~ Edgar Allan Poe

As I pulled up to the boat dock on Tuesday, I was amazed at what a beautiful,  clear and sunny day it was in South Florida. At this time of year, especially in the height of hurricane season, one never knows what the weather might bring us. The boat caption’s words last week after I booked the reservation–“we will sail at 9:30 am, weather permitting–reminded me that even when we put our best plans in place, there are things beyond our control.   BoatWaves

Sure, we all know that we cannot control the weather, we can only work with it.  Yet for me, the plans to sail on Tuesday, September 9th was significant because Tuesday, September 9th was the six month anniversary of Richard’s life transition and it was time for us to let go, so that we could be together again as one.   I’ve never experienced a burial at sea, so I had no personal experience to go by, but I did know that what was important for both Richard and I, was to be set free from the perils of death and be free, free so that we can be together  again as one.


On this beautiful sunny Tuesday morning, it was a small gathering of friends as we motored out into the Atlantic ocean.  Making the decision to bury Richard’s ashes at sea was something that we had both talked about, and something that I knew he approved of since he buried his first partner, Herman at sea in 1999.  The biodegradable boxes were a work of art; one blue with the (last) remains of Herman and one white with the  remains of Richard.  Yet even in those conversations about burial at sea,  you really don’t know if you can ‘do it’ until you get right to the point or rather, the day of ‘doing it.’

In a sense, I knew that placing Richard’s ashes at sea WAS my last act of Caregiving for him.   Sure, I had the option of the funeral home ‘doing it’ for me, but I knew deep inside my heart that this was my sole responsibility and something I wanted, and needed to do.  Then the conversation started on the boat.  “I understand that we have to be more than three miles from shore before the boxes can be placed in the ocean,” I said.  Then in unison, two of my friends said…”You’re going to just place his box in the ocean, he wants to be set free, just like you, let the ashes out of the box and set both of you free!”  “Hummm,” I thought…”Another Caregiving decision to make, and how I thought those decision were behind me!”

As the boat slowed down and then anchored, I knew that we had approached our destination and it was my turn to act.  I had no special words to say, yet I shared pictures of Herman and Richard and talked about their 43 years together as I placed Herman’s beautiful blue box in the ocean. Ocean 2 As I reached for Richard’s beautiful white box, I was still unsure of what I was going to do, then the box slightly opened, I could hear him speaking to me, “let me be free!”  After a few words, I took Richard’s box, and spread his ashes in the ocean and then watched as a beautiful array of colors gleamed at the top of the ocean as his ashes floated away on his eternal cruise.  As difficult as this was, as I watched his ashes float away, there was a sense of peace that came upon me that is difficult to explain.

As the box emptied of Richard’s ashes and then dropped into the ocean, the caption circled Richard’s starting point of his life-long cruise, where everyone placed  roses in the water,  and I thought about how happy he was because he was free.  It was at this point when I realized that I was free, too.

My last act of Caregiving for the one I continue to love, was to set him free, so that we both could be free.  BRScar2

You see, I did not mind being Richard’s caregiver, in fact I believe it is an honor to be a Caregiver, but for now and forever, I can go back to just being his partner, which is what I miss the most.  My faith tells me that I will see him again; my mind tells me that he is now forever free; my heart tells me that he 20120407-002416.jpgis right next to me.

For now, he is just a port ahead of me on his life-long cruise, catching up with family and friends, while speaking to me in different ways, because  I know that one day, I will arrive at his port and catch up with him on that life long cruise.  I’m sure he’ll have reserved a good cabin!















Filed under Caregiving, The Purple Jacket

10 responses to “Letting Go, Together As One

  1. Dear Chris,
    So beautiful and filled with such truth and Light. I feel as if I was on the boat with you, watching Richard soar above as Jonathan Livingston Seagull did, free and toward greater heights as yet unimaginable for us. I especially like that he’ll have a cabin saved for you! Before my spiritual teacher passed away 1 1/2 years ago I asked her to be sure to send me a postcard from the other side. She jokingly said she would be buying me a condo next door! It’s quite amazing to me that the veil between the worlds at times seems so great a distance, and yet at other times there is no distance between our hearts and those whom we love who have passed over to the other side.

    Good to connect heart-to-heart again….much love, LIGHT, and blessings,
    Gina Rosenthal


    • Thank You Gina for your kind words, it is so good to hear from you. I appreciate you sharing the story about your spiritual teacher! Once I get settled in New Orleans, lets find a time to chat. I would love to have you on my new radio show starting in October.
      All my best!


  2. My Dad sold his lobster boat/fishing vessel before he died, knowing that his cancer was making it hard for him to manage. He requested his ashes to be put in the ocean at his favorite fishing spot, a bell buoy off of Wood Island. I contacted the man he sold the boat to and he agreed to bring it down to the boatyard (said he needed some work done) and take us out. So my three brothers and I took Dad out on his last boat ride, on the boat he had built for fishing. It was very special. He was also in a blue biodegradable urn that floated for quite a while before it finally sank beneath the surface.
    Thank you for reminding me about that trip and good byes to earthly remains but never to the pieces they leave behind in the heart.


    • Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with me, I appreciate it! I’m pleased to know that our story that I shared today had so much meaning to you. My experience on the boat on Tuesday will be forever etched in my heart, and I will always remember you sharing your story with me today as well.


  3. Chris, thank you for sharing another beautiful tribute with us. Your writing has a soothing quality that reveals the sweet, caring spirit that carried you through your difficult caregiving journey. Many blessings and much happiness as you adjust to “life after caregiving.”
    P.S. I love the new look of your blog.


  4. h

    Dear Chris, Saw my email about the package before I saw this. What a beautiful tribute. This has given me much to think about. The pictures are wonderful. it was clearly a perfect weather day. Perhaps Richard knew? love, Harriet


  5. Chris, your expression is so incredibly beautiful. I didn’t know your partner had passed and I hope you are doing well in the aftermath. I love that passage, “now I can go back to being his partner.” As one person impressed on me after Kris passed away “the feeling of her will never die for you, and that is really her”. Much thanks.


  6. Bonnie Petrie

    Chris, thank you for sharing your beautiful story. The love between you and Richard is so moving and your writing has warmed my heart. When my father passed away we released his ashes into the ocean and were greeted by a school of dolphin. Reading your article brought that beautiful memory back to me. Thank you for all you do and for being the person that you are.


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