Sally: 2005

Sally spent two years in the Bahamas, working at the Princess Margaret Hospital. She loved the Bahamas, and we went there when we could. She loved being near the water, even though she had never learned to swim. She wanted her ashes scattered in the Bahamas, but when we talked about the actual details, about casting her ashes into the crystal Bahamian ocean waters, she immediately said "Not in the water! - you know I can't swim!" She could find the light side of any situation.

So, in 2005, the five of us went to the Bahamas to carry out her wish, and we kept her ashes in a proper tea pot. We went to Nassau, visited the Princess Margaret Hospital, and tracked down nurses who still remembered her fondly after over twenty years. She was a very special, memorable person, our Sally. We visited the ICU where she had worked, and the hospital is still as warm, beautiful and special as she had described - no wonder she loved working there.

Everywhere we went, there were things which reminded us of Sally. Sally was everywhere.

Later that day, on a clear, quiet, sunny beach, we found a spot far enough from the water's edge to stay dry, with a little bit of shade from a coconut palm.

We drew a heart in the sand and colored it with her ashes, remembering the way that she colored our hearts and our lives, poured from her teapot, in memory of how she loved her tea.

I had written something for the occasion that I planned to read out loud, but got too choked up, so we read this together, with tears and smiles:

Sally, we've come this way
to remember and celebrate you.
We know that these ashes
are something you've left behind,
but that these ashes are not you.
We carry your ashes today
to honor the life you shared with us.
We know that now you are not just here,
but that you are everywhere
and constantly part of us,
just like God, because you are with God.
And as you look down at us,
I'm sure you're laughing
at the nutty things we do,
acting out little episodes of our lives on earth
unaware of the big picture of things
that you see now.

I want to thank you
for coming into my life
for giving me life
for giving me hope
for giving me romance
for forgiving me
for restoring my faith in God
for making these four brothers
and for showing all of us
by your example
what strength, courage and dignity really are.

We miss you,
but we know that some day,
we'll be with you
and share our love
in an unimaginably wonderful way.

We will always love you.
You will always be part of us.
We will always remember you.

We left our tears, but kept our memories. We saved some ashes, and after Mark added a final message, "Love Always", we left with the teapot. We will always love you, Sally.