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  • Writer's pictureBelinda Cassettari

The longest Journey

Have you lost either of your parents? If not hold onto them with both hands! When you lose a parent it is life changing. You always sit and think about how many times you didn't call, what could you have done to see them more. Then it's to late. You think there will be another day, sometimes there is not! They are just gone, no goodbye, just gone.

After my dad died my heart was broken, I needed some kind of closure to say goodbye, the one I didn't get to speak. I took his ashes on a journey across country to leave behind a little memory with him and I , the longest journey. It was a spur of the moment journey, the kind your heart needs and your heads says "are you sure you want to do this".

My husband said a firm "no you are not going to do this!" Then I said "you don't understand I have no choice!" I called my daughter so I would not be alone and off we went. To take my dad (well his ashes) across country with me for the last longest journey!

I cried a lot, laughed some and listened to his music (a find while cleaning out the console in his car), his music was so sad and lonely, it however let me know him better! I drove in his car, with his smell, and found little notes along the way.

I will always be grateful for my husband letting me go and my daughter coming along (she had to fly across country to drive back across country with me).

It was not an easy journey, but for me it was a needed one. My dad had driven me the same journey when he took me back to meet my family for the first time when I was just 9 months old.

We drove route 66 as far as we could without going off the driving pace to much. It brought back some memories of days gone by and days to never see again.

There were some funny things that happened along the way. We stopped into a pep boys to get the oil changed before we left. The window washers were so bad, they came off the car in pieces. (I guess it really never rains in Southern California!) The tire was nearly bald, that would have been fun to try to change between myself and my daughter who call someone when a tire needs changing! The oil really needed to be changed! They really tried to sell me 65.00 per quart of oil. I resisted.

I had a trophy with me of my dads. I decided to take a picture with it everywhere we stopped and leave some ashes. Sometimes we just stopped and took a picture with the trophy. One of these stops, a policemen stopped (we were on the side of the highway getting an entering Oklahoma state sign) he wanted to make sure we were ok! I thought he would give me a ticket or something for stopping where we did. I told him a brief story of what we were doing. He told us to be careful when pulling back onto the highway and told us it was a nice tribute to my dad.

We saw and met so many great people along the way, I am grateful to my daughter for coming with me. She had to work in the car on her computer for a lot of the drive. She got impatient a few times but was a comfort and a needed passenger on my journey. It was a sacrifice for her to go. I will always remember her sacrifice for me. It was a long long drive.

We made it across country in 5 days, I know a lot of people could have driven it faster, but it gave me the time to try to say goodbye and listen to his music.

I still have not been able to take the final pictures, entering my state, leaving the ashes in my yard as a last place. I have his ashes on my mantel and his trophy next to them. I am still waiting for the time when I can finish saying goodbye. Maybe this summer.

I miss my dad, and my heart is still broken, but here are some things we saw along our journey.

Here is where we went.


True story:

I still have my dad's ashes. I have not been able to part with them. I don't really know why. There is so much more to this long drive than I shared in the first place. This long drive with my dad's ashes is the closest I had been to him in 10 years. Yup, 10 long years. He had not spoken to me. No phone calls, no texts, no emails, no letters, no smoke signals. (he was part Native American)

My dad chose me when I was young, what I mean by that is I had very young parents. My mom was 17 years old my dad was 18 and She did not know she was "with child" . He did. She was not as over joyed as could be as an unmarried 17 year old in that day. 3000 miles from home, scared and knocked up. But my dad was thrilled, he wanted to be a daddy, for a little while any way. I got to live with him until I was 4, then 6, then 16 . (16 was a stint for 6 months) between 6 and 16 I never heard a peep out of him. No cards, no letters , no phone calls , no nothing. See a pattern here?

He died without calling me! He was sick, in the hospital, and he didn't give me a chance to see him. My heart aches - you see my entire life I chased a dad that I could not catch. And now I have him, sitting in a box on my mantel and I cannot let him go. Sad, There is so much more to this story. Maybe another time I will write it all down.

My stepmother did not call me either. she sent me a letter 1 month after he died. It took me 2 weeks to make my way through the shock to call her back. She was so sick by then she could not talk to me. She died 2 weeks later. I never got to talk to her either. I don't have her ashes because someone stole them. That is for another time, long story!

This is still a place of unfinished. My dad is still sitting on my mantel.

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