Mom: 3 Years Gone – “Tour de Ashes”

Hi Mom,

Well today is 3 years gone and wow, so much has happened since the worst phone call ever in Auroville.

I won’t get into all the details but do want to catch you up on all the geo-locations (and other memorials) your ashes are distributed… for the time being at least.

Overall, you’ll be happy to know we’ve added a few more stamps to your figurative passport and there are many places scattered around the world where you are especially remembered. 

We’ll start the world tour with the most obvious and familiar locations in Utah: 

First, the Celebration of Life Monument in SLC right by the (fabulous) library. This wall took some doing to make it all happen but worth the work and looks great.      

Your entire full name with all the middle names is engraved on the wall and allll spelled perfectly! 

The wall is right by this adorable statue i think you would love. 

Also, Cena (photog), James and the Olson kids made a stop as well and easily found your name. 

This sandstone at the corner announces the park to the passers-by.

Second stop is the familiar by now Body Donor Program grave marker at the cemetery in The Avenues in SLC. 

The grass has grown in now compared to when we first went on Memorial Day 2017.

As usual, wrote you a little card. (wonder what becomes of these?)

The card caught you up on some recent rambles.

Old pal Marty came along for the visit. 

Oh yeah, Olsonkids (and their parents) made a “pilgrimage” the body donor plot as well. 

And the cemetery has loads of character and noticed Japanese and Chinese graves nearby which was interesting. A lot of pioneers and notable early church folks around as well which makes for fun viewing. 

Third stop is back to Logan where Uncle Bob generously provided a plot and worked with me to make the coolest grave marker.

First off though,… let’s back up to explain what we are talking about when we talk about ashes.

Anders and i picked up your ashes which were shipped to the Audiology Clinic from UofU.

We opened the cardboard box and then inside…

…opened a brown-ish plastic box, then, a plastic bag with all your mortal remains inside. 

Then, James’ “ration” went into a great square green glass (knew that collection would come in handy!) and then closed with rubber bands (obsessively balanced by Anders).

Finally wrapped up in my handkerchief to go into the plot (which we’ll get to later). 

Definitely was some tears Mom. 

So onward, the World Tour de Ashes begins…

To start the tour, Anders and I filled little glass ampules/vials/jars (from Amazon) to distribute among the brothers. Each carefully packed and wrapped with love. There you are! 

Then my stash of vials were wrapped in handkerchief (which came from your stash of international treasures. Specifically, the ones from Ireland with shamrocks before going into the cute shibu-inu 100 yen store bag. 

My first stop was the pier at Pacifica, California with Mike and Sachita (who took snaps).

They’ve been such wonderful friends to our family for decades and helped me out so so much when i was at my worst situation. This pier is a special place and always a variety of ethnicities and ages hanging out fishing and crabbing, sometime whales cruise past.

Then came Pe Ell, WA with dear Ed and Ellen.

We took a drive to the old Walville Japanese cemetery while Ed told stories about the old logging mills and camps around the area. Their house (E&E’s B&B) is such safe haven for me.

We stopped at a bridge over a creek (look this up) and did my little ritual (described below).

Then came Olympia, Wa

Kinda weird in a way to think how we lived for such a while. Leslie (who took snaps) and Lance came with and we went to the very end of the Puget Sound.

Truth is i was physically and emotionally completely wiped at this point but since was leaving US/Canada for a loooong time (i hope/suspect) wanted to take the time to check in everywhere and do this journey for my own peace of mind.

PS Oh great scarf eh! It’s a gift. The hat is handmade too by the old Georgian man at Lonsdale Quay, the suit jacket from Sunny in Chiang Mai, the sweater $3 at a thrift store #importantdetails

Anyhow,… we stomped out on the rocky muddy flats and sent some ashes out into the brine and talked about the passing of all of our parents over the years.

Next stop, Lynn Canyon where i spent so many exciting years.

Some melancholy memories as well as this is where “the wheels fell off” but that’s the past. Anyhow, went to the same stretch of the “creek” as i memorialized Grandpa. Dear friend Cameron U came with for kind support and photo skillz.

Again, you’ll see my lil “kit bag”…

…with the handkerchief protecting the vials (and the shibu-inu 100 yen store bag shown above)…

In each case, i slowly poured the ashes into the water…

…then rinsed the last of the ashes out. 

Also lit some incense carried from Indonesia to set the mood and atmosphere at each location. 

I took the time to talk to you each time too. 

Rambling along, next came Metchosin, near Victoria, BC…

Neal and Jo’s “dome wonderland” home has been my regroup spot over the last spurts of circumnavigations where i “sortganize” all my gear, drink great coffee, and eat bar-b-q like i am some sort of treasured human.  

Their backyard has a cute little pond and which all the other locations were oceans or rivers, this one will drain to the ground water and take a longer journey.  

Meanwhile Bob, Kaito and Anders made a drive to Lindon, UT

 Bob says: Then there was Andy, Kaito and me in the hills behind the Lindon home. (The house itself appears to have been torn down.)

We spend a really good stretch during the “Vacant Home Guards” years. Bob rode his bike all summer, Mt Baldy burned, i spent the summer working in Toronto, we got sorta lost on same Mt. Baldy. Anyhow, some happy memories during a transitive time. 

While they didn’t find the exact location (i think) as so much has changed, they rambled up into the hills to make a deposit of your goodness. 

Then Anders and Dan fulfilled a long-discussed family “legend” and erstwhile abandoned plan of visiting Norway for Andrew’s 40th birthday. They tried to track down some relatives and understand our lineage but not much to report on that front. 

However, they took your ashes along and on Sept 30, 2018… well i’ll let Anders pick it up from here: 

“we scattered at Frogner Park home of the Vigeland Statues. I found this statue of a mother holding her child close which really affected me. We scattered in the soil behind the woman and child…”

Here’s the statue he mentions – perfect indeed! 

Keeping on, we head to Nusa Ceningan, Indonesia and introduce a new character to the narrative, sweet Ryoko-san.

Along with renegade pal Robert Scales (photog), we poured you out into the channel which will take you into the Indian Ocean.

This was especially emotional for me i think because i had completed a long journey sorting through your items, working to resolve affairs, sorting out my own life, and then getting a new life built in Indo and Japan. 

Anyhow… good experience with dear people at splendid place. More to say about Ryoko but for another time. 

Next stop was at the wedding on April 21 at a rare family friend who has met *everyone* Mac Kobayashi’s goat farm

4 of the 5 brothers gathered, along with next generation Emily and Lee and we poured some out to the goat’s roaming area after all the festivities were wound down.

There’s a fuzzy photo but sharing this one as the location is just behind us and this shows us smiling and buddy Neal who’s house we saw in the Metchosin blurb above. 

Finally, we come back around to Logan Cemetery where you grave marker is finished and installed! Thanks for Uncle Bob for help. His family did a little informal dedication of sorts and sent along some photos and then Anders made it by as well and did the same. 

You’ll love the marker i think! While it wasn’t something you indicated you wanted but i (and others) thought was important for future genealogists. It’s like a mix of Agatha Christie meets Grateful Dead design-wise with Art Deco typeface sharing accurate, refined verbiage. 

The design inspiration started at Mac Kobayashi’s family haka plot where i saw this minimal clean design. Ran through a few designs but settled on the concept early and simply refined (i have the original mockups for posterity). 

The front obviously features your signature (scanned by Anders from passport), then your full entire name(s), then complete birth/death dates and locations (with counties for symmetry), finally 3 strong words. 

Then the back is simple and complex at the same time – reads like a sentence with Robert Hunter (who just died himself)’s words along the bottom under our names. 

Uncle Bob’s family left some decorations including this cute stone with “I Love You” which we do. 

We’ll keep on chooglin with this “tour de ashes” with joyful memories. 

Love your forever, 

your davey in Okayama

Whatcha think?