This is the story of the day I dressed up in a Ralph Lauren designer dress to go on a hike!
For the past seven months, my father’s ashes have been in my apartment. That is where they have belonged, with me. My dad always wanted to spend more time in my apartment, with me, but his Parkinson’s did not allow for that. He saw it once, and that proved to be too strenuous for him. So he’s been hanging out happily with me, in my place, through the holidays and into the new year.
Then, a couple of weeks before his 70th birthday (February 15th) everything changed. I got an undeniable sign that he was ready to be free. He was ready for both of us to move on. The message came through loud and clear, and with love. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to explain the mysteries of my heart, the depth of the secrets that led me to the moment where I knew he wanted me to let go. I just knew the time had come.
Before I took him to his final resting place, he and I had a few adventures to experience. I took with me to yoga one Monday morning in Marina Del Rey. He hung out with me in that hot room for 90 minutes, inspiring me with his spirit. His ashes rested in my Harry Potter backpack in the front of the room. Two of my friends dedicated their practice to him that morning. Most people, though, had no idea of the contents of the backpack.
One Tuesday we went to the Dermatologist together. My dermatologist had known my dad for almost twenty years, and it meant so much to me to be able to share my dad with him. And it touched my heart to hear Dr. B express his love for my dad.
I also took my dad with me to the Bikram studio in Downtown L.A. I still remember the moment I learned he had died. I had just finished a class and was in the locker room when I saw my mom had called. Even before I listened to her message my heart knew what she would say. I can’t explain how I knew, but I did. It was the first time I practiced at that studio. August 6th, 2013. I made new friends that day, people who had never met me were so nice to me in my moment of distress.
I took my dad with me, so he could feel the vibrations there, friendly vibrations that keep me coming back. In so many ways, my practice at Downtown L.A. is a beginning and an ending combined, intertwined.
I introduced him to a couple of my friends he hadn’t had a chance to meet. I took him to Starbucks—he loved the pumpkin spice lattes they’d have at Christmas time. We went to Barnes and Noble and hung out. He’d always love to do that. He came to work with me. I took him out for ice cream—his favorite treat. He came to the Apple store with me. He loved the Apple store, and on one of the last outings we had together, last April, we went there and he bought me an iPad mini for my birthday. Whenever I use it I can literally feel his presence with me. We had other adventures, he and I. We danced around my apartment. We talked. We cried. We sat in silence. I spent time just being with him in the best way possible.
The first weekend I had planned to take his ashes to their final resting place, it rained for the first time in months for three days straight. Serious rain. But this turned out to be the best blessing I could have ever hoped for, for I knew that meant the ground would be moist and I when I’d leave his ashes, they’d be able to soak into the ground so that what was (his ashes) would become a part of what will be (new growth). With that rain, the universe gave me the most magical gift, and confirmed my decision that this was the right time, the right decision.
So yesterday, Saturday, March 8th I woke up, took a shower and dressed in my new Ralph Lauren designer dress. I prepared my dad’s ashes for their final journey. I did set asides just a bit which I put in an antique Prince Albert tobacco tin that my dad loved. He appreciates that gesture. My heart knows that.
Then I went and bought some roses to honor his transition, picked up my mom and we took his ashes to their final resting place. Before I released his ashes, I read the poem I selected for the prayer card at his memorial: “When I Must Leave You.” After I scattered his ashes, a lone butterfly appeared out of nowhere, flittered about and flew off into the freedom of the sky.
With each passing moment of the past few weeks I could feel my father’s presence growing stronger within me. I understood finally what it meant that by letting go, he’d actually be with me more, in my heart. My heart and his, freely intertwined in earthly and ethereal worlds. A daughter’s life becomes a celebration as her father’s presence continues to propel her forward into the magical light of life.
I love you Dad. Thank you for releasing both of us to soar to even greater heights than I ever imagined.
With My Dad at Work:
With My Dad at Starbucks:
With My Dad at Barnes and Noble:
Releasing My Dad’s Ashes:
“When I Must Leave You”
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