After spending the weekend recuperating from the trip down to Southern California, I put my bike on the bike rack of my brother's car, packed up a few things, and headed off to Huntington Beach to bury some of Anne's ashes.
Anne had a very horrendous childhood not only of abuse and neglect but of also having a father who was a regional director for US customs. It meant lots of moves to live short periods of time in cities and towns where she would just make friends and have to leave.
Her stint in Huntington Beach while a young teenager was, by her accounts, the best time she had in her young life.
It seemed fitting to me to leave a part of her at her favorite beach.
I parked about two miles from the pier and rode my bike along the walkway among pedestrians, skaters and other cyclers to the pier.
I locked up my bike, took my bag, and found a nice spot in the sand as close to the pier as I could.
Anne spent her summers at this pier watching the surfers and talking to the fishermen, collecting cola bottles off the beach to redeem at the local stores for the pennies, and trolling the local bead shops to spend her pennies on.
We had shared a good laugh when she told me this story because I was on the same beach doing the same thing from time to time when I was a young teenager and we were probably unknown competitors for the same bottles.
Once I settled into the spot I had chosen I dug a hole deep in the sand and very carefully poured Anne's ashes in and buried them before the wind could catch them and send them into every sandwich of every beach goer for two miles!
I etched a cross into the sand and filled it with little shells to make it stand out so I could take a picture.
I said good bye, sat in the sun for an hour or so watching the people cavort in the ocean, and then rode my bike back to the car and headed home.
It felt good to do something nice for Anne and like I had finally gotten the chance to begin the process of grieving.
For some odd reason, we humans rely on and are comforted by ritual. There is no logical explanation for it. No empirical studies will ever show how or what the real effect is. But as long as there are humans and reasons to celebrate or mourn, we will have rituals.
I will save the rest of Anne's ashes to someday take to Skagway Alaska as that is where she had wanted to live from the time we had visited on our trip to the state 5 years ago.