In last Saturday’s post, I shared the continuing process of spreading my late husband’s cremains throughout multiple watery locations. Choosing these meaningful places for this journey has been an important step for me, and others, in the mourning progress and honoring Rich as he’d wished to be.
As a watery theme had run through our time spent together, I’ve chosen these locations with a purpose. Creeks, rivers, bays and the ocean were a significant backdrop for our relationship.
Rich was living in the town of Brielle near the Manasquan River at the New Jersey Shore when we’d met. Not long after, we were married on a beautiful paddle boat called the River Belle that is docked in Brielle, NJ, the town where we also shared our first living space.
Our wedding took place on a late September day that started out warm and cloudy. In fact, there was a brief shower during the onboard service, with the sun appearing just as we took our first kiss as husband and wife. The reverend took credit for that!
Early in our marriage, Rich received his long-lost “baby book” containing photos and fun facts about his childhood. One entry told of how Rich’s first picnic as an infant was on the banks of the Metedeconk River in Ocean County, NJ, not far from the first home we’d purchase as a couple across from the banks of the Beaver Dam Creek. The Metedeconk River is one upon which we’d spend many summer hours boating and crabbing decades later.
That river’s water flows into the Barnegat Bay, the first place on which Rich’s cremains were spread. During the course of our marriage, we’d owned three boats, all of which cruised and sailed along this bay for many summer seasons. On the waters of that bay, we crabbed and clammed and spent happy times with friends and family.
When we moved to the historic sleepy town of St. Marys, Georgia, in 2020, Rich was immediately drawn to the waters of the St. Marys River. He spent a lot of time getting to know the locals at a small bait and supply shop along that river. One day he’d asked if he could be a local and was informed that, yes, he could if he’d lose that, “Damn Yankee accent!”
Recently I posted about how with the help of some new friends, a portion of Rich’s ashes melded with the waters of the St. Marys River, near a pier where he often crabbed or fished with differing degrees of success.
This winter, my hope is to travel down to the Florida Keys, an idyllic location that holds a very special place in my memories of Rich. We’d honeymooned on Hawks Cay, my first visit to the Keys. Like Rich had so long ago, I also fell in love with the entire length of those islands, each beautiful and unique in its own way. During the course of over ten years, we’d rented several homes on Big Pine Key, Islamorada, Key Colony Beach and Caloosa Cove.
Each key holds such a special and significant place in my heart. Just as my recent trip back to New Jersey was filled with sweet memories of shared watery places, these visits will always be bittersweet. The only way to move forward is to create new ones and forge paths to a hopeful future.
“So much water moving underneath the bridge; Let the water come and carry us away.” Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young
Thanks for reading. Have a great week and enjoy the start of the special holiday season upon us.