We were all there on the boat in July. In the waters of Silver Bay. It had been years since I had set foot on a boat. Grandpa and my dad used to take me halibut fishing out in that bay.
I was afraid to be sea-sick. Grandma’s eyes were wet and everyone talked quiet and respectful. I held her arm in mine as we bounced and swayed out of the harbor. The breeze was warm inside, and out on the deck the air was clear. As we sped over the waves my stomach flopped and I only panicked for a moment. The captain pointed to the whale spouts and the kids and I all asked to follow it.
Out on the deck the wind blew my little flower printed dress wildly. I forgot to be scared of the water and closed my eyes holding the railing. I could feel the whole world melting around me. There was only this moment. Only the whales and the otters and the seals and Grandma and Grandpa in his tin. Only the wide sky and only the islands and sea birds and glitter on the waves. Being on the water was amazing and I didn’t cry, I laughed and laughed and something unlocked in my heart. Something weary and heavy lifted into the sky.
The captain steered us into Grandpa’s favorite fishing cove far far from the harbor. The engine cut and we floated, silent except for the wet waves lapping. The water was so dark and the cedars on the shores and cliffs were so dark and lush and green. Grandma said a prayer. Each of the three children scooped a little of Grandpa from the tin and let it into the ocean. Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. They saved a little of Grandpa in an altoid tin for me to put into a locket. Grandma sniffled and mom ‘s eyes were red. My hot tears were overwhelming, but it was because it was so beautiful.
When we had soaked up enough of the moment the captain started the engine. He slowly turned the boat back towards Sitka. Suddenly I remembered Grandpa’s laugh. In my heart I could hear him just laughing and laughing. He was so happy we put him in the sea.