Monday, April 12, 2021

Refuge Harbor

In my last post I focused on Yves Paret, who died on the day of his wife’s, Madeleine’s, funeral. Madeleine was buried; Yves was cremated. Such choices of final disposal are real issues for those of our age group. Indeed, my father was buried, my mother cremated; going in different directions is not uncommon—at least not in our family writ large. The choice tends to reflect personal traits. My father was a traditionalist; the well-designed grave stone was, as it were, his last acknowledgement of social status; he valued standing in the world, and his stone still stands there today in Kansas City.

My mother drew her inspiration from nature and art; she was dynamic even in her passing. She’d go on as a flame, her residues ash—but with the wish, often expressed while she still lived, that her ashes should find their rest in water and, presumably, keep moving in rhythm with nature’s never-ending stir.


We’ve never lived on or near the ocean; if we had, we’d now remember Mother’s resting place as the Pacific or, preferably, the Atlantic. Preferably? Yes. We’re thinking of the Gulf streams motion. But, no ocean for her. Years after her passing she found her place in Lake Huron; if not the ocean then at least the Great Lakes.


The place we eventually found was on the east side of the Michigan thumb. The locality was Port Sanilac, the place Refuge Harbor. We learned the name of the spot after we had strewn Mother’s ashes in the Huron. And we nodded in wistful pleasure. Refuge Harbor. After a long, hard life Mother had at last arrived. And she would have approved.

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