Kris' journey has finally come to its end. Saturday the 26th February we committed her ashes to the sea, outside Charleston.
Annie, a friend of the family, had helped us by arranging for a friend, Eric, to take us out on his sail boat. He brought his girlfriend Catalina along, bringing the total to seven. We had driven to Charleston in the morning to meet up with them, and it was early afternoon when we were ready to put out from the marina.
It was a beautiful day and hot, but on the water there was a light, pleasant breeze. Bright sunshine and glittering blue water. We first boarded the sailing boat where we all got very comfortable. But with the breeze coming in from the sea we needed to use the engine to get out of the harbor area. As we put out we were accompanied by a couple of dolphins who broke the surface close to our boat. They can't have been a good omen though, because the engine promptly died before we had even left the marina. Our captain took a look at it and was not happy. Oil was leaking from it, and it was clear that it would need some sort of major repairs.
But instead of scuttling the trip, he quickly solved the problem by producing a second vessel - a small, open, outboard motor boat with a steering pulpit. It was supposed to hold a maximum of six people, but we piled in, all seven of us, and headed out. In good hands, the overloaded little craft handled the waves nicely, and we got up quite a good speed. We passed by Charleston's historic waterfront and the harbor and headed out past Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, until we had cleared Sullivan's Island and were in the Atlantic. Eric killed the engine and turned the boat so that it rode the low waves calmly.
The day before, Andrea and I had bought a cardboard box about the size of a shoe box. It was a very sweet floral scrap book like motif, in pink hues with butterflies and the text "LIVE well, LOVE much, LAUGH often", printed on the lid. We lined it with large sheets of white tissue paper, poured Kris' ashes into it, along with the numbered ceramic block that had followed her through cremation. Then we folded the tissue paper into the box, added some folded sheets for an inner lid, and closed it. Last I took a lucky coin that Kris used to have, and slid it under the lid. To hold it shut we tied the box like a present with a pinkish white silk ribbon that we tied into a big extravagant bow.
Now, off the coast of Carolina, we all said a quiet goodbye before Andrea and I leaned out and placed the box in the water. It floated. But the lid wasn't tight, and we held it under until it took in some water. Then we let her sink, and saw her pink box and ribbon disappear into the deep. The end of a long journey.
Handfuls of red and pink rose petals followed her, along with a few daffodils from the family garden. After that we started the engine, turned the boat around, and headed back to Charleston harbor.