Life After Windbird, Day 41: Celebration of Life for Mark
Date: Thursday, September 22, 2016
Weather: Sunny and Warm with Calm Seas; High 80 degrees F
Location: At Home in The Studio #8, Falmouth, MA
Today was a beautiful day in all ways. I was surrounded by perfect weather and loving family and friends as we headed out into the Vineyard Sound to send Mark’s ashes out to sea. We had one little glitch when one of the two engines on the boat wouldn’t start. But the captain just announced that we would have to move from the Islander to the Patriot Too. The Patriot Too is a smaller and slower boat, but it was dependable and we made it to Tarpaulin Cove. There we cut the engines and drifted while Olivia White led a beautiful memorial service. It was probably a bit long for the grandchildren, but they were all so good and patient. There were moments when I just couldn’t hold it together, but I just took a deep breath, looked at those beautiful grandchildren, and got those tears under control. Matthew Porat, son of friends Detta and Tom Porat, flew in from Utah, and he read a favorite poem of Mark’s by James Kavanaugh entitled, “There Are Men Too Gentle Too Live Among Wolves.” Mark’s brother and brother-in-law read remembrances from the Handley family, and my niece, Candice Todd, read part of letter she sent to Mark about a month ago that symbolized the way all of my nieces and nephews felt about Mark. Bruce Woodin read one of Mark’s favorite quotes from The Wind and the Willows by Kenneth Grahame: “There is nothing—absolutely nothing—half so much worth doing as just messing about in boats.” And Mark’s other favorite quote was printed on the back of a card given to everyone present. I’ll end the log with that quote, but first I’ll complete the description of today’s memorial. We ended with the song that Mark sang to his children and that we still sing to grandchildren today. That is “Simple Gifts”, a Shaker song. Matthew Porat played that on his violin as we sang along. While Matthew continued to play, Heather, Justin, and I dropped the packet of ashes off the back of the boat and everyone present threw over a long-stemmed yellow rose and a rock with a message written on it for Mark. The grandchildren distributed the rocks and permanent markers for people to write their message which gave them a purpose. And kids just love rocks, so that was a great recommendation of Olivia’s. I think the whole program worked nicely and I think Mark would have approved. Our oldest grandchild, Sam, requested that we record the latitude and longitude where the ashes were sent out to sea. I think it was Alan Kanegsberg who got the position from the captain–not sure about that. But the position I was given was:
Latitude 41 degrees 28.841 minutes N
Longitude 070 degrees 43.713 minutes W
When we got back to Falmouth Harbor, we all headed to Heather and Jed’s for what the caterer told me would be a ‘light’ dinner. Everyone had the same reaction. If that was ‘light’ we would hate to see ‘heavy’. There was way more food than we could eat but it was really delicious.
This log is probably making no sense. I am really tired. Justin, Jo, and kids leave at 6 am, so we are getting up at 5 o’clock in the morning! I sure am going to miss them, but I’d best get to bed so I can at least rally in the morning to say our farewells. Once they leave tomorrow and Mark’s family leaves on Saturday, I will have my first test at how I am going to react to life without my soulmate. He would want me to be strong, so I’ll give that my best effort.