Today, to mark a year, to say good bye, to fulfill his wish, and to get some closure around his death since there is no grave and abruptly never got to see his face or body again, I scattered Rick's ashes near the sea.
A ceremony of one.
Just before sunrise, I walked the Marginal Way and I settled myself in a cove of stone and sea to read Rick the letter I wrote.
Here I am, sitting along the Marginal Way, near the “mermaid rocks” where you took my picture several times. The last time I was here, you were here too. I can’t believe a year has passed…but at the same time, I feel that I am already living a new life. I think that you’d be proud of me. In fact, I can almost hear you say, “You did it, kid. Way to go, A.”
There have been times along the way when I’ve been angry at you for putting me through something so tragic…so traumatic…so heartbreaking. There have been times when I’ve been frustrated I couldn’t get answers to some of my questions. There have been times of loneliness and times of feeling sorry for myself. There have been times of stress and sadness. There have been times of confusion and pain. But in spite of all that, and actually because of all that, I’m living a new life. And so, as strange as it sounds, I want to thank you.
I will never fully understand why you did what you did, and I will always be sad that you put out your own light…but even in the midst of your emotional pain and desperation, I know you knew I’d be all right. I lost count during the years of the number of times you told me I was “amazing” or “full of energy.” You always saw a resilient creature who could easily make her own happiness. You knew I’d find my way through the darkness you created.
It’s been quite a year, Rick. I don’t have to tell you all the things I did, because you already know. You always thought I was a great writer, but I think I’ve surprised even you with the daily blog I’ve kept for the world to read. What a journey this has all been. What a year I’ve had since you’ve been gone.
It’s strange to say good bye to you again when you’ve already been gone a year. But I need to let you go. I came back here to leave a piece of you as you wished, and to say good bye.
So many times this past year, when I’d cry out of the blue, a grief burst socking me in the stomach, I’d find myself whispering, “I’m sorry.” It took me a while to even realize I was saying that as I’d wipe my tears. I think I was apologizing for not being able to help you. I know what happened wasn’t my fault, and I know I don’t have to take responsibility for anything, but I’ve always been so sorry that you could be so low and not get what you needed out of life. I wish it could have been different. I’m sorry, Rick.
I am so full of life and I’m never going to waste it. I am going to live this life so good. No fear. No regrets. No settling.
You taught me a lot of lessons in life and in death. I’m grateful for that. I’m happy I’ve had the experiences I’ve had with you and because of you. Good and bad. I really mean that.
Your life touched mine, Rick. The world may be different because you are no longer in it, but the world will also be different because I was shaped by the experience and now Ido things and will be things I might not otherwise have done/been.
This world will never be as it was when you were here, interacting with people on a daily basis. I know that places will seem emptier, that hearts will seem heavier at times, and that everything has forever changed. But I also know that because of your death, because of how it’s changed me, I will be different. I am different. And because I am different, this world will be different.
I can search for happiness...or I can choose to create it. This is a choice I get to make every day. I feel lucky that despite the lack of control I’ve had over so many things in my life, I always have this choice. I always have the option to search or to create. And I will always choose to create happiness.
For me, there is no other way. Rick, you always knew this about me, and I like to think that it was one of the things you loved.
The choice you made affected me. It's a choice that will always affect me. But I know I can also be happy. The whirlwind of emotions I’ve felt over the last year do not negate my desire to live and breathe and thrive.
So here we go… My life will go on, and it will be different than I imagined... And I’m okay with that. I’m happy with it, Rick.
Your life made a dent in my life. There’s a groove somewhere in my existence that you made. That’s what I’m saying “thank you” for today.
Life kept moving, even after you died. And I have to keep living too, Rick. Keep cheering me on.
And though I cried all through my letter, I felt freer with every word. And though I cried releasing Rick into the stone and sea, I felt a release too. And though I cried as I looked out over the water alone, when I turned to leave, it was with a smile.