And it starts. . . as it ends

Sunday I had planned on spreading the beginning of Dad’s ashes at some point while I was in San Francisco with my favorite blonde and her mom. Let’s be honest I wasn’t going to tell her but decided last minute to tell her that was my plan. She was jazzed about it.

We got there in time for the event we were going to and so spreading the ashes before wasn’t an option. I had hoped she would forget about it. Turns out that’s why she’s my favorite blonde because as soon as we got in the car she asked where I wanted to go.

In true Jamieko fashion I panicked, I deflected and tried to avoid at all costs to follow through with this process. She gently encouraged me and we drove until I made a decision and that was what I needed. We ended up driving to Golden Gate Park. Let’s be honest I didn’t know that that’s where I was going to end up. Hell I didn’t even know that that’s where the Conservatory of Flowers lived. Tragic. I know.

It was dark and I didn’t know where to go. I was the person who ended up directing all the while trying to contain my inner freak out of the first step of this two week process. Her mom pulled over in a random spot which made me super nervous. Let’s be honest I’m probably the biggest “rule follower” that I know. So pulling over illegally in a closed park in SF to spread ashes (which is a no-no) was nerve wracking.

It was cold and yet I began to sweat as I opened the door to get out. I reached in her flowered bag and grabbed the sandwich size zip lock bag that Dad lived in and awkwardly got out of the car. My favorite blonde and I walked along the sidewalk as I rambled fluently speaking gibberish as she walked next to me making me laugh about my ridiculousness. We walked far enough out of site of the car and walked onto the grass. It was dark yet you could clearly the grass and the roots of the trees.

I hadn’t prepared for this. Period. I thought it would be easy and freeing. I think that would be the word I would choose, freeing. But here I was frozen with Dad in a zip lock and my friend staring at me at a distance waiting patiently for the next step. What the hell is the next step? I hadn’t thought this far ahead. Like do you say something? Do you throw the bag and run? Do you twirl in a circle? HELL!  Someone tell me what to do! First things first, open the bag.

I tried three times to dump the bag, squealing each time and dancing around like I had to pee. My nervous energy did nothing for my decision-making skills and did nothing for me except make me want to vomit. A few minutes later and on the fourth time I finally walked over to the area where the grass met the wooded trees creating a nestled cave and protection. I squealed and dumped the bag in a swinging motion in the hopes that they would magically fly away? Who knows. I was nervous and so uncomfortable that I was being watched. I tried to say something besides gibberish mixed with laughter. I have zero idea what I wanted to say, but let’s be real, I hadn’t planned on saying anything. It turned out to be something like,”Uh ok ta-dah!? Thanks? Bye dad.”

I walked over to my favorite blonde stood there and was at a loss. Like what now? Do you ask for support? Are the cops coming? Is her mom gonna honk the horn? Oh shit am I gonna cry? All, which made me too nervous to do anything except say, ok let’s go. She paused and expressed how it was ok to cry and we could take a minute. I think I took 20 seconds before walking to the car. She shook her head and followed me.

Her mom made awkward conversation asking about why I chose to spread the ashes on each step of the road trip and I started talking. I began doing my silent cry that I have perfected and thank the Lord Jesus she had to focus on not killing us so I didn’t have to speak anymore. I sat in the back and silently cried. My favorite blonde reached back and held my hand as I texted my best friends and freaked out via text. You know, the healthy way to emote.

So… that’s how this road trip began. Spreading dad at the beginning of where he talked about as a good thing. He didn’t share much unless I asked and I didn’t learn to ask until it was too late and he was too weak to carry on those heavy conversations. I am grateful for the years and moments that I did go into nosy Jamieko mode and pried into my dad’s very private life. I was told once by one of my black friends, that black people don’t share history. They don’t talk about the past because it already happened. That was my dad. Some things I believe are culturally passed down whether you ask for it or not.

This begins where it ends in the Bay Area… Thank you Stanford for keeping dad alive so long. Thanks San Francisco for so many fun memories for Dad and with Dad. Thanks for keeping him safe on this first step of this amazing journey!

– run JKO run

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