We have a service at my mum's church then family and friends convene at our house to talk, to cry, to miss him together, and to prove to ourselves that life goes on. The doorbell rings, my brother answers and I watch from a distance and through a fog as our dad's ashes, all that remains of him, cross over our threshold one final time. We rent a little fishing boat to take us out on the bay the following morning - it's grey and stormy, the sort of sea my dad loved – and we cast his ashes into the waves that are threatening to overturn our craft. For lack of any initiative from the rest of us, Mike steps into the breach and does the deed, intoning "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." I don't know what these words mean but I have nothing to say myself. I'm numb. My champion is gone and I begin to lose what small faith I have in God.
My spirit commences a long, slow spiral down. Meanwhile, forces already in play on the other side of the world are conspiring to launch my usually sub-sea-level ego toward the stratosphere. In America Working Class Dog is actually climbing the charts. It's the kind of success I've been longing to savor for what feels like my whole life. I've fought for this overture to success for so long, that to just roll into a ball and fully absorb my father's death is not an option. If four days is all I am given by GH: then four days is all I will allow myself to grieve. After that I will grab back onto the brass ring that is about to yank me up. My champion would understand.
But on the plane on my way home, I end up curled in a fetal position on the floor in front of my seat with my stomach writhing and twisting. My body is trying instinctively to roll me into that ball, but when the plane lands, I straighten myself up and walk down the jet bridge to my new life.