It was Friday, July 15, 2016, that my family and I went out into the Gulf of Mexico and released my twin sister’s ashes. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and the dolphins and porpoises were jumping and frolicking around the boat that we rented. The water was clear and the waves were somewhat calm.
For two years now, I have had my twin’s ashes on my mantle in my living room. I know what we discussed about her cremanes and what she wanted me to do with them. We discussed where she wanted her cremanes to be spread. I know that she always loved London. She had traveled there several times in her life. She loved the idea of being in Europe. But then, on that particular day that we discussed this matter, my Denise simply said, “I want to be on a beach somewhere.” There was no better place in my estimation and in the thinking of my family but to take her home to the Rio Grande Valley. We went to South Padre Island where my family and I would spend many weekends and days during the summer.
I remember the days we would be at the beach as a family. My Dad would take Denise out to the first, the second and even as far as the third sand bar. She loved it out there. He would hold on to her tightly and she was with her Dad bobbing up and down with each wave that was heading to shore. I on the other hand was afraid to go very far. Later as a teenager, my Denise and I would go to the beach now and then together and I would go out that far with her. It was if I was gaining courage from her. I wanted to be out there because she was out there. I have seen pictures of her on various beaches throughout her life. She loved the sun, sand, and water.
It was so hard to release her ashes, quite honestly. It bothered me that we were having to do this. But I know deep down inside that I had to fulfill what it is that she wanted. Denise wanted to be at the beach. My brother Richard and I rented a boat to go out in the Gulf. The captain of the boat turned off the motor after we had gone out about a mile from shore and we were floating. He asked, “Is this far enough for you and your family?” We all said, “Yes.” The captain and his crew walked to the front of the boat and let my family and me take care of my Denise’s ashes. I opened the urn and began to pour out the ashes on the water. It was surreal to me. I could not believe what we were doing. We were saying “goodbye.” We were releasing her once and for all. Her ashes floated on the water and spread out with each wave. It was if she was leaving. Now I know that she left us June 27, 2014, but this was different. She was leaving one last time.
After the ashes were released, my family was still and quiet. We just sat there. Then I said, “I am not sure what to say.” My older brother, David, recited the words to the hymn “Amazing Grace” and then he prayed. We sat there for a few more minutes and released a white dove that my Mom had purchased for this event. Of course, being out in the Gulf, the dove did not fly away. Rather, she flew to the front of the boat and waited for us to dock so she could be on the land. We of course laughed at this turn of events and it seemed to lighten what we were doing.
Now that I have been able to process and think through what we did on July 15, 2016, I am relieved. I believe that my Denise would be very satisfied and glad we did what we did in the way we did it. I think she would have loved that we rented the boat and went out into the Gulf and released her. It was a good day. It was a weight off my shoulders.
I love you, Denise, and miss you so much. I’ll see you later!