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Searching for my father

Tonight, in a movie I watched, a women threw her fathers ashes into the Pacific Ocean. And it made me think. Where are my father’s ashes?

Searching for my father

My father on the Saskatchewan River. 1981

I think my step-mother has my father’s ashes. A few days before he died, she offered to split them with me and my brother. But we declined. I don’t know what my brother was thinking, but I didn’t want my father split into pieces. It was unsettling to think of him being in more than one place. As though there would be three Bill’s. One in each small urn.

I thought I wouldn’t mind, but now, seventeen years later. I feel like something is missing.

There was a funeral. And then my step-mother sold the house and moved away with no forwarding address. Does she have my father on the mantel, next to a photograph of her and her new husband? Is he stored in the linen closet next to the towels and sheets?

In two days, on Saint Patrick’s Day, it will be seventeen years that he died on a cold day in March, alone in his hospital room.

And, if I could, I would walk along the Saskatchewan River on March seventeenth. The place where I picture my father.

In the spring of 1981 my father and I took the  flat-bottomed river boat he made, for a week along the Saskatchewan River. At night we slept in a tent on islands in the middle of the river and during the day we hunted.

One one of the islands we found a ring of small stones. He said when he died he wanted his ashes buried in a small circle of stones like the Indians did.

If I could, I would take my father’s ashes and bury them on an island in the middle of  the Saskatchewan River in a small circle of stones.

I wonder where his ashes are?

Me and my father on The Saskatchewan River

Me and my father on The Saskatchewan River. 1981

I can’t walk along the Saskatchewan River on March seventeenth because I live in Pennsylvania. And I can’t bury my father’s ashes in a circle of stones on an island in the middle of The Saskatchewan River because I don’t have his ashes.

But, I can go in the basement and read all of the letters he wrote to me.

And I can look through the photographs he took when he came and visited me in Tokyo. And I can look at the black bear skin he helped me flesh when I shot a black bear in Northern British Columbia. And I can look in the mirror. Because my father lives in me.

In my memory and in all the things he taught me.


About Pamela Hodges

I write slice of life stories to help you know you are loved, valuable and worthy just as you are. I am a writer, an artist, and a cleaner of seven litter boxes. I live in Pennsylvania with one husband, four cats, one dog and two birds.

You are an artist. Yes, you are. Really.

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Get the FREE illustrated, sort of a comic book, “You Are An Artist.” Believe in yourself and your ability to draw. xo Pamela

  • DA Schuhow

    Are all your posts going to make me cry? No Wait. Gawd, I gotta take my antidepressant. LOL

    • Ha, DA Schuhow,
      I am not meaning to make you cry. 🙂 March is always the “write sentimental stories about my dad” month, as he died March 17th.

  • I think about my Dad and miss him every day. Here’s to our fathers, Pamela. Beautiful post.

  • JeNan Merrill

    Yes, your father is “In my memory and in all the things he taught me.” It is evident that he remains, in these and many other ways, in your heart.

    • Hello JeNan,
      Yes, in my heart. I don’t have to have his ashes to have him in my heart.

  • Sue Sutherlin

    You’ve had a very rich life, Pamela! What’s even better than that is that you seem to appreciate it. How very blessed you are! <3

    • Hello Sue,
      Thank you. I never really thought about the life I have lived as being rich. I thought everyone grew up learning how to skin animals and hunt. And, as I get older I see how fortunate I was.

  • TC

    You brought me to tears, Pamela. That’s a beautiful, sweet story and your memories are your treasures. I spent a lot of time with my dad as well, in a boat, fishing; in a school bus made into a camper. He is still my hero. Thank you for sharing your heart. Bless you.

    • Good Morning TC,
      Thank you for your kind words. Your father and you had special memories too. He sounds like a wonderful daddy. Do you have a photograph of you and your father you would like to share?