Truth be told I’ve been planning this trip since April. When David and I began talking about summer vacations I decided I wanted to take Dad on a trip. When I was like 21 I started to do a research project for dad. I called the little town dad grew up in, Xenia, OH and spoke with the county clerk/town librarian for months. We went back and forth via email and she was amazingly helpful. I received copies of census records, death certificates, and property documents, anything you can think of to learn more about Dad’s history. I was going to put a big thing together for dad. That didn’t happen because as always, I got busy. I did process it with him and we had a great conversation about his history! I loved that conversation I learned so much.
We talked about taking a trip back to Ohio and up to New Hampshire, where Dad attended Dartmouth for his undergrad education. It was going to be a fun trip across the country. I wanted to stop in LA and see where he first landed when he came to California in the seventies and then just travel with him. It was slated to be an amazing adventure! He ended up getting married and my life as an adult took flight and college became a thing.
So in April when I hit that pivotal “four-month” marker of grief I decided that I needed to do something with the ashes that my mother had given me to take care of. David and I decided to take an anniversary trip and he was unable to take an extra 10-14 days off. He talked about taking 5 days off and he could fly back. That didn’t appeal to me so I left it in God’s hands. I prayed on it and knew that it would happen. Power of prayer is an amazing thing.
When my favorite blonde and I began talking about this ridiculous road trip we both quickly realized that this was going to be a real thing I realized I needed to put to paper the idea of what would this trip look like. The idea was to take the trip Dad and I had talked about and spread him along the way, minus going to New Hampshire because that’s a long way to drive. I knew I wanted to spread him in Xenia. That was the end game. Everything in between was up for negotiation. She and I came up with a rough plan allowing me to process as we talked and whatever came up became a thing. The timing of the trip was amazing. During the course of this trip the 6th month anniversary of Dad’s passing will happen and we will arrive in Xenia the day before Father’s Day. Truly like God wrote this out and said here ya go!
The plan is much less of a plan than it is a series of things that I think might work and things that pop up as we go.
- San Francisco, CA: When dad moved from Ohio he moved to Los Angeles and then to SF. He loved SF and had so many awesome stories to tell about it. He even lived with his brother for a hot minute. I was raised in the Bay Area, not SF but the majority of my childhood was spent in the Bay Area. I thought it fitting to start here.
- Las Vegas, NV: My father and biological mother played a lot of poker professionally. This was my dad’s favorite hobby, was really good at it and he was happiest when he could play cards. He taught me how to play poker and shuffle cards before I learned how to play Go Fish. It’s a thing in my family. So of course I wanted a piece of him to be in Vegas.
- Xenia, Ohio: This is where dad spent the first 18 years of his life. After college ended I don’t know if he spent time back there I believe he moved after. I know in his twenties he left and never came back. He wanted to go back. He wanted to show me his life, his past.
- San Diego, CA: San Diego is purely for me. I love water. I know Dad loved water so that was enough for me. I graduated from college in San Diego and he was the reason that I went to college. It wasn’t even an option; of course Jamieko is going to college. He made me secure with being intelligent, he encouraged it. He encouraged me to do so much! San Diego is often considered one of the most beautiful places in California. I’m going to Carlsbad because that is one of my favorite places and it’s closest to my college.
- Monterey, CA: Monterey County became home for Dad when he got married again. So of course finishing in Monterey is fitting. My mother asked if she could join and she had a place she would love to spread. Originally I was going to take him to the Monterey Beach Hotel because I know that the two of them went there often and he loved that place. I am excited she’s taking part in this process. One of my best friends said she’d meet up with us and join in the final goodbye. I’ll probably invite one more friend.
So that’s the plan and mini-reasons of why I chose the spots I did. Some of the stops I’m making where ashes will not be spread are of significance and I will talk about that when we get there.
I’m so excited that this trip is taking place! I am so freaked out that this trip is taking place! I am also so blessed to be taking it with someone who lets me be ME like Popi did. I can be messy without judgment and be encouraged to process and not deflect. I can laugh at stupid things, cry without having to be silent, have a serious conversation with, sit in silence, then laugh until I want to pee on myself again all in the span of ten minutes. I am excited to be taking Dad on the road trip we talked about for years. Here’s to saying goodbye ❤
– run JKO run