We awoke at dawn — the whole family — and met at the beach. My uncle Jeff carried my dad’s ashes, and I had a pair of shears. Everyone else carried cut flowers, and we waded into the cool waters off St. Augustine.
The sun was only just breaking, and shades of red sat low on the horizon. Leaving the others behind, Jeff and I pushed deeper, the water up to our chests.
We gave each other a nod. I cut the sack, Jeff submerged the bag, and my dad swirled into the Atlantic Ocean. I grabbed Jeff’s shoulder and pulled him back. A few paces behind, my mom called out. We all held hands.
Three gulls streaked low over the horizon. The sun burned higher in the morning sky, and we stood in the sea. Waves rolled in and the flowers we’d thrown sank into the deep.
At last, you — and all of us — have maybe come closer to being free of all this.