Being in Homer brought me so many memories of my dad and our last trip to Alaska. We visited my dad and stepmother Sylvia’s friends, Jo and Bob Reese. They had also lived in Merced, Ca before moving north to Alaska.
They had a little summer place right on the Kenai River, at a wide spot. There was a fish sink and wooden boardwalk along the front. I fished for hours and hours while my dad visited. It was hot and sunny along the water and merganser hens minding fifteen or so ducklings plied the opposite side of the river. Gosh, those kinds of days are the top of my ‘Moments that Feed my Soul’ list and there are many spent with my dad.
I created an important new memory this trip as well.
Nobody in the family had been able to decide on where to release my dad’s ashes for his final return to the earth. Just in case… I took the box with me to Alaska.
When we were heading down to Homer, it felt like time. So, at a lovely spot along the Kenai River, I waded in and let him go. I felt peace as the water turned cloudy and moved off toward the sea. I also felt a lift, a sense of having done the right thing and… he really left! I don’t feel the press of the memories we created, his expectations for me, the need to ask him how to do something or the responsibility of being his first living child anymore. I’m not sure I was even aware of carrying around that stuff! It was good to say goodbye.
So, an era ended there on the Kenai River on July 23, 2019. Here are some pictures of my dad… His curly hair, once blond but done dark. His giant smile, laughing blue eyes, seriousness, character, love and this earth he remarked about a couple days before he died, “I’m gonna miss this place.”
RIP Jack Seymour Wharton, you leave a strong legacy behind.