saying good-bye

On Thanksgiving morning we spread my Mom's ashes at a beach near Marina del Ray.  The sun was shining, the views of Los Angeles were beautiful from there as you could see the mountains surrounding the waters edge in the distance. 

The beach was long and wide and lined up at the top of the beach are a mixture of adorable homes you find on many of the beaches in this area. 

We all walked down to the beach and laid her to rest at the shore.  After all, she was a California girl at heart.  Growing up in Bakersfield and going to college at both Berkely and UCLA.  Settling down in Bel Air when she was pregnant with me. 

You never know what to expect in life.  It is a long road that takes many strange turns.  If it wasn't for my father, there is no doubt that my mother would have never left California.  She would have raised all of us in Los Angeles and I am sure we would be very different people today.  But it didn't turn out that way, my father got a job at University of Michigan after getting his PHd at UCLA and off we went to the cold town of Ann Arbor that had many inches of snow on the ground when we landed.  I am sure that was the beginning of the end of their marriage.  It wasn't what she expected and the culture shock of being a professors wife in the midwest was not exactly what she had in mind with 3 kids in tow 

We continued to move east never returning to Los Angeles to live although there was always an underlying threat that we were going to move back although we never did.  Maybe that is one of the reasons I never felt connected to the DC area where we settled in when I was about 10.  My parents got divorced, my mother remarried to an old time Washingtonian and that is where she stayed. 

The good news is that I spent six months in Los Angeles doing an internship in college.  My grandmother lived in Laguna Beach at that time.  My sister came out to Los Angeles to work in the record business for many years at one point.  My brother ended up moving out here about seven years ago with his family.  I love having the connection to Los Angeles.  I always feel at home here. 

It has been almost a year since my Mom left us.  The aftermath of her death is interesting for everyone in our family in a very different way.  Not surprising as we all had a different relationship with her.  My Mom always felt connected to California.  Getting together on Thanksgiving which was her favorite holiday of the year is a must.  It was the one holiday that she owned after my parents got divorced and she owned it in until she left us. 

Going to the beach, on Thanksgiving, as a family and spreading her ashes into the sea on a pretty perfect California sunny day could not be a more fitting way to say goodbye. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. Rohan

    Mourn them do not. Miss them do not. Celebrate them, do.  :)…

    1. Mood6063

      So sorry for your loss but it seems like a hard day, you tried to turn into a positive. While my mom is still with us, dad has passed and so has my sister this year which mad for a difficult time for all especially my niece who remembers her mom vividly. We gave thanks to the beautiful children they left for all of us to appreciate including your mom.denise

      1. Gotham Gal

        life is for living. you have to be positive.

  2. RichardF

    Celebrating the life of someone you all loved on Thanksgiving must have been a very special moment for you all. 

  3. Rebecca Stees

    my heart goes out to you

  4. denmeade

    thank you for sharing your thoughts on this experience. my mum died a couple of months ago and i’ve been thinking about some of this quite a lot … the way we celebrate holidays, the places that mattered to her.

  5. CCjudy

    I am sad for you and glad you have such a loving family  Judy

  6. pixiedust8

    I found this post really interesting, as I’ve been trying to decide what to do with my mother’s ashes. She died two years ago. She was Australian, and like your mother, HATED the cold weather. (My parents once spent a year in Toronto, where she was miserable.) I feel like she spent so many years in the US that she didn’t feel that connected to Australia (except for her boarding school) anymore, so it’s a bit of a dilemma. I think I’d either need to spread her ashes somewhere related to her school or possibly on Prince Edward Island, since both she and I loved Anne of Green Gables and she was a total bookworm. A little odd, but perhaps fitting, since I always meant to take her there one day.

  7. Dnutt78

    I want my ashes spread out on the beach close to where I live also.  Good post.  I am sorry for your loss.

  8. Tracey Jackson

    Very touching. You are lucky to have family and tradition even in the face of sadness.

  9. Sunchowder

    This was indeed the perfect way to spend Thanksgiving and such a lovely tribute to your Mom, she would have loved it.

  10. Janet Hanson

    Great families understand the power of glue.  It’s what keeps you together throughout life. I think you were saying “au revoir” and not goodbye… 

  11. Susansandl

    Glad you shared this with us, Joanne. We thought of your Mom today–there is a huge ad in the Arts section for an upcoming Neil Diamond concert!

    1. Gotham Gal

      i saw that. neil + judy.

  12. Tereza

    Judy Solomon, Woman Entrepreneur.May she rest in peace.

    1. Gotham Gal

      nice. thanks tereza.