Now, almost six years later, it was time to re-visit Point Dume.
The next stop on my remembrance tour was Tommy's apt. in Calabasas. I had been back there since his death, but I had not been to the area behind his home where Jay and Nick spread some of his ashes, in 2015. As I drove through Malibu's canyons, I could see the remnants left by the Woolsey Fire (Nov.2018). As a former wildland fire fighter for the California Dept. of Forestry, now CalFire, I knew first hand how difficult it is to fight these types of fires. Seeing the scarred hills, the seeming randomness of what is burned and what is spared, brought it's own memories.
The next day I awoke to little voices and the sound of rain. I was staying with Caleigh and Rick and their three kids. Caleigh was like a sister to Tommy and her oldest, Zada called him uncle tom tom. He never met Weston or Vaugn.
John Miller was like a father to Tommy. He had called Tommy his third son. His blood son, Johnny, Rocky, and Tommy lived together for a time - the three musketeers. John and Johnny had travelled to Maryland for Tommy's memorial service. I felt a need to be here, not only to support Johnny, and his sister, Ashley, but to represent my son. Tommy didn't need me to represent him, he made it obvious to everyone that he was there. But I am so thankful, I was able to be there.
As I left Caleigh's to make the short drive to the church where the service was to be held, I heard a rumble of thunder - I knew then that Tommy was there. Caleigh asked Tom to make it really loud at the service.
As John's casket was about to be rolled between the aisles to the front of the church, there was a HUGE crack of thunder. There was no doubt, that John and Tommy were together and right there. We all looked at each other with tears in our eyes and smiles on our lips.
The afternoon was spent reminiscing, and reconnecting. I also was able to finally meet some friends and family I knew but had not yet met. As usually happens at funerals, I heard stories about one of my sons that I hadn't heard before, and I loved every minute of it.
I'm not sure how long after Tommy's death that I knew his ashes would go to four places, but I knew, and I was sure. Perhaps it was a dream, maybe a sign, maybe a voice in my head, maybe Tommy told me through a medium; I truly don't remember. All I know is that some of his ashes were buried by his father at St. James in Monkton, MD ; some were scattered by his brother and friend in the Santa Monica Mtns., above where he lived in Calabasas, CA.; some will eventually be buried on our family farm in MD ; and some were with me as I made my way toward Joshua Tree NP.
The weather on that Friday was beautiful. Sunny, 70's, breezy. I had actually planned to re-visit Rawhyde and meet up with a friend I made when I was there in 2015, Audrey Rodriguez. I had planned on going to Joshua Tree on Sat. However, the weather predictions for Sat. ( torrential downpours, flooding, wind) made me change my plans. So I found myself in Joshua Tree, feeling apprehensive because I wasn't sure I had enough daylight to climb Mt. Ryan. It wasn't a long climb, it was the elevation gain that was the problem for me. In order for my back to make it, I was going to have to take it slow - too slow. I checked the map and found another spot with significant elevation that I could drive to. It was beautiful but it wasn't Mt. Ryan. I was questioning myself, wondering if I needed to once again abort this mission. I had to abort in Feb. of 2015, because I broke my leg. I asked Tommy for a sign that this place was ok.
I'm walking toward a viewing area and a young man approaches me. He looks at me and says, " would you mind taking a picture of me?" "Of course not, I'd be happy to", I reply. As I take his phone and wait for him to position himself in front of the view, he shakes his head, and says, " I want it with the jeep". I say ok and take the photo -- he has sunglasses on but I sense something. "Are you alright?", I ask. He starts crying and tells me that the jeep belongs to his sister, she wanted to visit here but she died two years ago. I, too, start crying. I pull the ashes out of my pocket and said, " you are fucking kidding me. These are some of my son's ashes, I came to spread but was unsure of the spot". We both looked to the sky, cried, hugged, and took a selfie. I told him the name of my son, he told me the name of his sister. We didn't need to share our names. We will never forget that day or each other.
I spread the last of his ashes that had to be spread and the wind took them. I felt not a sense of loss but of joy - I wanted to sing and dance -- I went to the Integratron instead and had a sound bath. Another magical place that Tommy and I had visited together. They were booked for the weekend, it was their opening after being closed for the past two months. They had one spot open, due to a last minute cancellation ---- hmmmmm.