Also reposted on the music page- today, 6/13/08.
When my dad died the family took his ashes to the ocean (he had been a career Navy man) and we all tossed our little cups at the same time. The wind blew straight at us simultaneously as we, in unison, spat and hacked his remains onto the surf.
My dad was a complicated guy in some ways. He was very spiritual and had a very bad weakness for booze. He attempted suicide several times when I was a teenager. I hated him for a long time. By the time of his death in1992 I had grown to respect him. His death from cancer came swiftly- due to botched medical care by Kaiser. I didn’t feel I had time to really talk to him.
A couple months more than a year after my father died I went to the beach by myself and camped at Short Sands (Oregonians will know where I mean). I spent a few days contemplating my relationship with him and the difficulties he faced (and eventually overcame).
The last day I was there I sat on a log where the trail to the beach opens onto the small, hidden stretch that is Short Sands. I wrote this song. That was a Sunday. I went home. I felt open,as though a huge thumb had been on my head for years and it was suddenly lifted. I was soaring.
The following morning I found my daughter dead by her own hand.
You just never know what to expect.