Friday, January 22, 2010

Michael's Big Sur Memorial Weekend

Big Sur 01a sm
Originally uploaded by ray fischer

Tomorrow morning I will be packing up the kids, and driving down to Big Sur. It is a beautiful region of California, where the mountains meet the ocean. It also has the wonderful distinction of being Michael's favorite place on earth. Well, he might have picked some other more exotic places to have this distinction, but in California, it was his favorite place to be.

I am going to Big Sur for the weekend, to spend some time with Michael's friends. They have organized this memorial weekend to celebrate their multi-decade friendship with Michael. These are all his Peace Corp frieds, those that love him, and that he loved and trusted with all his heart.

When his friend first proposed gathering for this purpose I chose to not commit to the idea. Early on, I was in so much pain, that I didn't think I could endure such a weekend. The last time I was in Big Sur, which was last March I think, was an occasion for Michael and I to scout out where he might want his ashes spread. While it was a really nice day trip for us, and we ate at our favorite lunch spot, Nepenthe Restaurant, it was also a sorrowful occasion. I was in tears for much of the trip, being a bit overwhelmed by the nature of our visit.

When Michael was a teenager he worked at one of the resorts in Big Sur for the summer. They way he told the story, it reminded me a bit of like the movie Dirty Dancing. Anyway, I'm pretty sure the resort is where he and I stayed for his birthday a couple of years ago, Big Sur Lodge. For this weekend we are staying at the Big Sur Campground and Cabins. So while I am now loving the idea of spending time with his friends, celebrating his life, and scattering a bit of his ashes, I am also a bit apprehensive.

I don't want to get worked up about the trip. I don't want to expect sorrow and pain. There won't be too much room for that, as all the kids are joining me. And while it's not like they haven't seen me cry a lot in the past four months, I don't see this as the perfect environment to just fall apart. I will though, find time to walk around by myself, and have a private conversation with Michael. Michael's best friend is the one who will kind of put some structure to the celebrating of Michael part, and he plans to bring the small urn of ashes I gave to him after Michael's memorial. What I plan for myself is to just bring along some of my own Michael-ash, and scatter it while talking to him in private.

Since this will only be a two day quick getaway, I will still be here blogging. For those of you that read me regularly, you know that I write every day. This is a commitment I've made with myself. I don't know how long I will do this, but right now my goal is to write daily for a year. So far it hasn't been a problem, as I always seem to have something to say. For tomorrow's post I will likely write something late tonight, which I often do rather than sleep anyway.

As you may have realized, I am writing this from work. It's Friday afternoon, and my brain is completely fried. Rather than leave the office early, I felt that I could at least be accessible, and write today's post at the same time. I may wait and post this after I get home, as I wanted to add a picture of Michael taken in Big Sur. Maybe I will post this anyway, and add the photo later.

Thanks for dropping in if you are reading this. Don't be shy about leaving comments. I, and all my brother and sister bloggers, always love the feedback.

Think of me and Michael this weekend. Know that he is being celebrated. And know that I am most likely walking around with a peaceful smile. If I'm not, then I will bring you up to date later, and we can all have a good cry at the end of the weekend.


  1. The weekend sounds grand and don't worry about expressing how you really are feeling. Certainly Michael's friends and the kids will understand.

  2. Sounds like a very important, wonderful idea - though I can certainly see how it would be difficult.

    I've often thought about getting a bunch of the chef's Elias used to work with in Vancouver for a gathering, as, since I was such a wreck after he died I didn't get a chance to let any of them know about the funeral. I know in some ways it would be tough, but they were such a fun bunch of guys that all loved and respected Elias - and it may be really nice.

    It sounds like a great group you will have gathered to honour Michael, and it sounds like a beautiful place to spend a little time with Michael, since he loved it so.

    I look forward to hearing how it all went.

  3. Beautiful photo of Michael. Big Sur is a spectacular place to get together with caring friends. Here's hoping that you have a wonderful time this weekend.