Friday, May 15, 2009

A Tribute to Anne

Dear Lucy,

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.



  1. What a wonderful tribute to Anne and testimony to your love and many years together.

    I think our dear old friend Joesph spoke most eloquently about the need for ritual:

    "A ritual is the enactment of a myth. And through the enactment it brings to mind the implications of the life act that you are engaged in. Now, people ask me, what rituals can we have today? My answer is, what are you doing? What is important in your life? What is important, they say, is having dinner with their friends. That is a ritual.

    This is the sense of T.S. Eliot's The Cocktail Party. A cocktail party is a ritual. It is a religious function in that way, and those people are engaged in a human relationship thing. This is the Chinese idea, the Confucian idea, that human relationships are the way you experience the Tao. Realize what you're doing when you're giving a cocktail party. You are performing a social ritual. You are conducting it when you sit down to eat a meal, you are consuming a life.

    When you're eating something, this is something quite special to do. And you ought to have that thought when you eat a carrot as well as when you eat an animal, it seems to me. But you don't know what you're doing unless you think about it. That's what a ritual does. It give you an occasion to realize what you're doing so that you're participating in the inevitable energy of life in its exchanges. That's what rituals are for; you do things with intention, and not just in the animal way, ravenously, without knowing what you're doing.

    This is true also of sex. People who just engage in sex as a fun game, as something exciting like that, don't realize what they're doing. Then you don't have the sacramentalization. And the whole reason marriage is a sacrament is that it lets you know what the hell is correct and what isn't, and what's going on here. A male and female coming together with the possibility of another life coming out of it - that's a big act."

  2. OM MY GOD ! I AM SO SORRY! I didn't mean to post that last (anti-gay) paragraph of his statement! There's no "edit" function to take it back! How embarrassing. *sigh* I think I am destined to always piss you off and embarrass myself in front of you. 26 years and running... I'm still stuck in my motorcycle helmet...

  3. Hey Cathy, that last line was pretty funny but the stuck in your motorcycle is hysterical.
    For those not in the know, Cathy and I were partners for 7 years before Anne.
    One night when Cathy and I were dating she rode up to me on her motorcycle,wanting to tell me something, and couldn't get her helmet off to talk to me.
    Well, needless to say, after struggling to get the helmet off, and finally winning the battle, whatever she had to say would only pale by comparison.
    Your line in your comment is true, a male and female coming together with the possibility of creating life is a big deal. It doesn't take away from anyone making love, gay or straight.