July 3, 2017 by kruckr
Burials at sea have occurred for centuries. The traditions and ceremonies have changed, but it still remains one of the most dignified ways to say goodbye to your loved ones.
It is no secret that we had Henry’s remains cremated. Months ago, about the time I would have normally started planning for his birthday party, the idea of chartering a sailboat and doing a partial burial at sea came on quickly and suddenly, almost as if someone whispered it in my ear. Dan and I talked it over and it was settled – or at least the idea was.
Once we started the booking process, we went through several charter companies before we found one who could actually take us out to sea. Many local charters just cruise the St. John’s river (pretty in places, but not the ideal location). We ended up going with Sail Time out of St. Augustine, Fla. It was a little farther to drive, but well worth it.
We (Dan, Ella, Charlotte, Lucas and myself) embarked aboard the Blew Bayou, a 42-foot catamaran, around 10 a.m. on my baby boy’s birthday and headed straight into the Atlantic Ocean via the Mantanzas Bay. It was captained by Jimmy Hill with our crewman (and part time videographer) Collin. We were a little weary of predicted storms (the summer norm in Florida), but we were blessed with calm seas and just enough wind to get us where we needed to go.
Just after noon, we stopped here for the ceremony.
I had done a little research on ideas for the ceremony, but it’s pretty much up to the family and what they want. I asked Charlotte and Lucas to choose the scriptures. Here’s what they chose:
1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” 2 He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. 3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4 Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. 5 And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
John 1: 7 – 8
7 He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him al might believe. 8 He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
Very beautiful and very fitting!
Next, I read a poem. I found it online shortly after starting my research – again, like it was being handed to me. It made me cry the first time I read it and every time since, but I absolutely LOVE it!
Miss Me But Let Me Go
When I come to the end of the road,
and the sun has set for me
I want no rites in a gloom-filled room,
why cry for a soul set free?
Miss me a little but not too long
and not with your head bowed low.
Remember the love that we once shared
miss me but let me go.
For this is a journey that we all must take
and each must go alone
It’s all a part of the Master’s plan
a step on the road to home.
When you are lonely and sick at heart,
Go to the friends we know,
And bury your sorrow in doing good deeds,
Miss me, but let me go.
After the poem, we began the ash spreading with “Song of the Sea” playing in the background. This was the part I was really glad I did my research on. Someone suggested bringing flowers to drop in with the ashes so you can spot them on the water as they float by. Dan did the honor of pouring the ashes into the sea. The water was a color none of us could every identify – jade, maybe teal. I thought this part would make my cry the hardest, but as the ashes met the water, the sunlight streamed right through them like Henry was there with us. The combination of the water and the sunlight streaming through the cremains was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
Following the ceremony, we continued to enjoy our day at sea with more sailing, a quick dip in the ocean, a little steering by yours truly and a tour of downtown St. Augustine from the Mantanzas Bay. Seeing the city from this perspective made me appreciate it’s beauty all the more.
While we have retained the rest of Henry’s ashes to keep with us until we go to our final resting place, I’m very happy with our decision to do the ceremony at sea. Everything was absolutely perfect and I think everyone involved felt nothing but peace and love the entire day. It is exactly the place I want to think of when I think of him.
Rest in peace by sweet boy. We will be with you again one day. We love you so much!