Scattering My Father’s Ashes Along Atlantic Shoreline

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Trips My Parents Took Together

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John & Lu Hill, Taken at the Beach in Hilton Head

Every year my parents traveled together to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  It was a trip they both always enjoyed taking together.  It was their happy place.  A place to escape from life’s worries,  A place where they could unwind and relax and not worry about deadlines, traffic, frequent hassles associated with job, and everything.  Hilton Head was their place.  It was their unique special place.  Hilton Head Island features about 12 miles of beachfront along the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean and is a popular vacation spot for tourist around the world.  The island is named after Captain William Hilton who in 1662 identified a headland near the entrance of Port Royal Sound which he named “Hilton’s Head” after himself.  My parents had been making this trip for many years, often times going twice a year.  Sometimes they invited some of their good friends to join them.  They would enjoy eating at good restaurants, kayaking, and enjoying the sunsets together.

John’s Passing

As many who have visited this website before will know, John Hill passed away approximately eight months ago in January of this year.  If this is your first visit to this site, then welcome.  I designed this website as a tribute to my late father showcasing the brilliant and talented man he was. He passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly on January 12, 2015 from congenital heart problems.  I designed this site to honor his life’s achievements.

To honors my father’s wishes of being cremated, we choose that option when he passed away.  He always said that when he died, he wanted to be cremated.  So we, of course, held up his wishes.

Scattering At Sea

Having ashes scattered in a place that held special meaning to the deceased is an honorable choice to make for surviving family members.  This scattering site is often times at a place of recreation.  Home is the where the heart is.  Since Hilton Head was so special to my parents and represented a place of calmness and happiness and a place where my father always enjoyed the most as his favorite vacation spot with his beloved wife of 46 years, my mother and I have decided to embark on a journey to Hilton Head, South Carolina to have a private scattering ceremony where we will scatter some of his ashes at sea along the shoreline of the Atlantic Ocean.

It is important to us to have a scattering ceremony in a place that was meaningful to my father.  Hilton Head seems to be the perfect place.  This will acknowledge my father’s past and include him in our present tense. This hopes to be a central part of our grief journey.  We will be picking fresh flowers to release in tandem, de-stemming them in advance and placing them in a sealable.

I will be leaving it my mother’s discretion, of course, to scout out the exact perfect location for the scattering ceremony since Hilton Head was so special to the two of them.  Also, since this will be my first time going to Hilton Head, I know nothing of the best places.  I am assuming, however, we will be getting up before sunrise, before the beaches are crowded with families and children, and stroll down to the shoreline and just as the sun is rising, scatter parts of him along the shoreline of the ocean, allowing the tide carry him out to sea.

The purpose for the flowers will be throw them in at the same time as his shes as to permit us to visually follow the ash flow and make the ceremony slightly less melancholy.   In addition, I can shoot photos of the flower and ash floating on the water so friends and relatives who won’t be present can share in the experience later when I published the images here on this website.

My First Time to Hilton Head

As mentioned in the prior paragraph, this will be my first time to Hilton Head. Before my father passed, my parents always told me that someday I should come to Hilton Head with them.  The timing was never right for me, because they always traveled during the off season when school was back in session and the beaches were not as crowded and being that I worked in the education field, I was always busy with students as they were back in school and could never go during the off-season.

Well, I am happy to report that this time, I will be able to go with both of my parents, because Dad is coming to Hilton Head with us, where we will honor him by releasing him to the Atlantic Ocean.  When my father first passed away, I was not thrilled with the idea of cremation, but since that is what my father always vocalized to us that is what he wanted, Mom and I did exactly as he would have wanted.  But travelling to my father’s favorite vacation hangouts has shifted my perspective. By bringing a bit of him to scatter at Hilton Head, we can honor his past and include him in our future adventures as two single women taking on the world together.

We will be leaving for Hilton Head in about ten days.  I will report to you via this website as our journey unfolds.

Thank You Rob & Julie Kresge for Your Contributions

I wish to thank Julie and Robert Kresge, author of the Warbonnet Mystery series for taking the time to email me these beautiful photographs of my parents taken at Hilton Head while they were all vacationing together in 2014.  Thank you for helping to make this article as special as the man whom it is honoring.

John & Lu at a Hilton Head Restaurant Ready to East Some Scrumptious Entrees

John & Lu at a Hilton Head Restaurant – Ready to Eat Some Scrumptious Entrees

Comments Welcome, But Please Show Respect

As always I welcome any and all comments on this website.  I recognize that some cultures and religions view ash scattering as being disrespectful.  If that is your opinion, I wish to say I do respect that and to please have the same mutual respect for my family as we do believe in the act of releasing one’s soul through ash scattering.  This will be done as a wildcat ash-spreading which means we are not going to seek permission or request permits as some officials may like, because we believe this ash-spreading will be a wonderful gift to us and allow us to peel away a few layers of grief.  Plus, if anyone knew my father, I am sure you would agree when I say I think he would have liked that this is slightly illegal by some people’s standards.

 

 

20 Comments

  1. Mara

    Hi Steph,

    I found this a really touching and heartfelt article. It’s really nice that you and your Mum could hon our his wishes and also be a bit rebellious with the ash scattering, which you indicated was in line with his personality. I really enjoyed seeing the photos with the article, which personalized it a lot. I see now that it would have been the anniversary of your father’s death last month, so I send best wishes to you and your family. It’s said that the loss never goes away, but it gets easier to live with over time, so I hope you are once again finding joy in life.

    Mara

    Reply
    1. Stephanie Hill

      Hi Mara:

      Thank you for stopping today and reading from my father’s tribute site. The ash scattering in South Carolina was a heart breaking one but it was also very healing as well. We could almost feel his spirit there standing next to us. Perhaps he was. I would like to think so anyways.

      Yes, last month on January 12th was the one year anniversary since my father, John Hill, passed away. Plus, in a few days it will be what have been his birthday. He would have been 71 this year. We never know how hard it can be to lose a loved one until it actually happens to you.

      I know in time, our wounds will heal with the power of Jesus Christ in our hearts, I know we will get through this time. I once again appreciate you leaving such a wonderful comment on my father’s tribute site. Please visit again soon.

      Sincerely

      Stephanie (AKA John’s Daughter’s)

      Reply
  2. Sharon and Doug Leyland

    Hi Steph, our hearts go out to you and your Mom. I can really relate to your choice to take your Dad to the place he and your Mom loved and made many, many, Happy Thoughts in the sunlight together for all time. This will also help you and your Mom in the grieving process and allow your hearts to begin to heal.

    I’m sure you recall when I shared with you that we lost our son Jason 7 months ago to a sudden death at a young age. Well Steph, we are kindred spirits, as Doug, Chris (Jay’s only younger brother) and I, did exactly what you’re planning on doing.

    On Jason’s birthday June 4th, right to the flower pedals I sealed from his memorial.
    When we placed them together upon the water we taught him to swim in, on the lake we lived by, Jason’s ashes and the rose pedals mingled in the sunlight, and gently floated on the water. We felt as though Jay’s spirit was there with us.
    It was a blessing, even though Jay had moved on, there was a calm relief that provided us with closure, so our hearts could begin to heal. There were quite tear upon our cheeks, as the 3 of us held hands and knew our son and Chris’s brother was now in a better place, free from pain and smiling down on us.

    May God Bless You and Your Mom and may you feel the happy feelings that your Dad did with your mom when he is gently placed upon the water in a place he loved so very much. With all our Love, Sharon and Doug

    Reply
    1. Stephanie (Post author)

      Hi Sharon & Doug:

      It brought tears to my eyes to read about your son Jason. And yes I do remember you sharing with me that Jason passed away suddenly. I can only imagine the grief from losing a child. I have yet to experience that type f loss as both of my children are still alive, but neither of them wants anything to do with me for reasons I do not understand (but that is another story for another day). As I recall you telling me, Jason was about my age when he passed – still relatively young – certainly too young to die. I feel my father was too young. He was 69 years of age.

      I was deeply touched when you said you did the exact same thing with Jason’s ashes as we are planning on doing next week when he visit Hilton Head, South Carolina. I just hope the weather Gods are kind to us and the aftermath of the hurricane is not too horrible that we cannot enjoy this time – the three of us (or the three Hills as my Dad always referred to us) – it will be me, Mom and my father’s spirit as we cast some of his ashes out to Sea. I already have the type of flowers picked out for the ceremony.

      Thank you for reading my post regarding scattering my father’s ashes and leaving a very heartfelt comment sharing something that is very personal to you and Doug. My deepest condolences on the loss of your son Jason.

      Sincerely,
      Stephanie

      Reply
  3. Shrey

    It is a very new and interesting post. I really like the way you described everything and it is really hearth touching your way you have written it and tried to express your emotion on the topic.

    I think you are a really good writer and I’m really impressed by the way you write and how you connect to everyone through your comments and their comments. I need to learn how to do what you do and write as beautifully as you do. Your words are so well constructed and your emotions are so well captured through your written prose. Your father wrote very detailed rulebooks about his wargames such as ADF and Squad Leader and you obviously have inherited his talent for writing.

    Reply
    1. Stephanie Hill

      Hi Shrey:

      Thank you for reading my article on scattering my father’s ashes along the Atlantic Ocean. Yes, my father was an accomplished author with several rulebooks written for ADF, Squad Leader and Johnny Reb. I appreciate your kind words about my writing. I suppose it was in the genes. Have a wonderful day and come back and visit soon.

      Stephanie

      Reply
  4. Sinisa

    Dear Stephanie,

    I am sorry for the loss of your father and can only imagine all the feelings you have gone through and probably still are. I think the way in which you have chosen to show respect, by designing this site as well as doing the ceremony at the place he loved most, just goes to your credit and shows how much you really loved him.

    I am certain that this love would not have gone unnoticed by him, and as time goes by, please allow yourself to feel the presence that is your father. I am sure you will be able to do it, as I can right now, just by reading about him at your site.

    Be there for your Mom and remember that your father is now there for both of you, as energy can never be destroyed, only transformed.

    Much love,

    Sinisa

    Reply
    1. Stephanie Hill

      Hi Sinisa:

      Thank you for the incredibly kind comment you left on my article regarding the ceremony my mother and I have planned at Hilton Head, South Carolina to scatter some of my father’s ashes at the Atlantic Ocean. I have done researched and made some tentative plans as to how we are going to carry it out.

      I am delighted you were able to notice just how wonderful a person my father was. He was a loving and devoted husband, a proud father and fun-loving grandfather to my two children. I am an only child, so I am all my mother has left. It is just his “two girls” as he used to refer to us. We miss him greatly and am unable to express the hurt that goes along with him being gone.

      I wanted to use my skills as a web designer and design a beautiful website that I know would transmit how proud of I was of him and how much he was loved. He was a terrific man. He was my hero. And he will always be remembered.

      Thank you again for visiting my site today.

      Stephanie

      Reply
  5. jeffrey

    I’m so sorry to hear of your fathers passing. Hilton Head sounded like a perfect place to scatter his ashes. It was a place your parents had fond memories of, and I’m sure your dad wouldn’t of wanted it any different. God bless you and your family! Jeffrey

    Reply
    1. Stephanie (Post author)

      Hi Jeffrey:

      Thank you for the kind words. I agree with you. I think my father would love the idea of having his ashes scattered along the coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. It was indeed a place that was special to my parents. Thank you again.

      Stephanie

      Reply
  6. Karma

    Fathers are the best, what would life be without their, personal touch. Their insight into a issues. The website gives one a view of your relationship with your father, and his relationship with you. Many people forget the role of a Farther. Your Website shows the role your Father, played inside your life. I was able to reflect upon your Father Role inside your life. I read about your father being a wargame designer and had designed one of the most popular wargames – Squad Leader. That was impressive for sure.

    I enjoyed reading about your plans for taking your father’s ashes to the beach and scattering along the shoreline. Scattering ashes has always been a tradition and seems to be even more popular today. It is a way to carry a art of our loved ones with us and keep those memories alive. Thank you for the write up. I also enjoyed the pictures of your parents. I can see the love they had for each other by the expressions on their faces. How many children did your parents have besides you? Is the whole family including your siblings going to be there?

    Reply
    1. Stephanie Hill

      Hi Karma:

      Yes, fathers and mothers are very important to everyone. My father designed not only Squad Leader, but Across A Deadly Field (ADF), Johnny Reb and Battle of Stalingrad to name just a few. He is well missed among his friends and wargame buddies.

      Hilton Head is the first place Mom and I decided would be best to begin scattering a sampling of my father’s ashes. We plan on perhaps doing more trips and taking my father with us to scatter in other places. We were also thinking about traveling to a foreign places and taking some of his remains with us as well. But, Hilton Head is the ideal location to begin because it is a place that was very special to he and my mother. They loved it in Hilton Head with all the fine dining and fun things to do.

      Thank you for visiting my website today. Have a wonderful day!

      Stephanie

      Reply
  7. adam

    Hi there,
    Sorry to hear about the passing of your father. Came across your site and think its a wonderful idea to commemorate your late fathers life. My parents are still here so not sure how you feel but hope you and your family get through this difficult time with ease.

    Reply
    1. Stephanie Hill

      Thank you for the kind words Adam. I appreciate the sentiments.

      Reply
  8. Melody

    First of all I believe you have created a beautiful website. Your father is so lucky to have a daughter who would honor him in this manner. We love our parents with all our hearts but that love doesn’t really show until they are gone.

    Your post today has made me realize how much I love my parents and how much I need them. I think I will give my Dad a call after I finish this comment. 🙂

    I feel a little connection to this story as the Atlantic Ocean is also very special to me. When many of my friends headed to the west of Canada for work, I just couldn’t go. I can’t imagine not smelling the salty air or seeing the tides role in and out.

    A truly beautiful story. I am sorry for your fathers passing but I bet he is very happy with the choices you and your mother have made.

    Reply
    1. Stephanie Hill

      Hi Melody:

      Thank you for the kind words. Sometimes it does take hearing another’s story to make you realize how special someone is to you. I enjoy visiting the beach as well. Mom and I currently do not live near the beach and for many years I lived far away from my parents and did not visit as often as I should. Like you said, we don’t always know how special someone is to us until they are gone. This has been a tough year for both of us and we need this trip to help us recover a bit from all of our tragedies and help us to resume our lives.

      I am happy to have shared my journey and will continue to share as time draws closer. Please stay tuned for additional updates.

      Now, go make that phone call to your parents. 🙂

      Steph

      Reply
  9. ilyssa

    This is a beautiful tribute to your dad. I think it is so great that you and your mom honored his wishes. I am sorry for your loss and love that you have created this site.
    Ilyssa.

    Reply
    1. Stephanie (Post author)

      Thank you Ilyssa for your kinds words. I appreciate it. I will keep everyone posted as we go forward with our ash scattering ceremony.

      Reply
  10. Hindy Pearson

    Stephanie, what a beautiful and moving tribute to a man who was so loved. It’s obvious how much you cared about him, and how much joy he brought to your life. You’re a very lucky lady for having had a father like that in your life. I know at times it can be difficult to honour the wishes of someone who is no longer with us, particularly if the request is something we’re not comfortable with, or would have preferred done another way. How wonderful that you are able to say goodbye in the way he wished. I’m sure you will bring back lots of memories from a place that meant so much to your parents. Now you get to finally share it with them. I hope it brings you peace and comfort.

    Reply
    1. Stephanie (Post author)

      Hi Hindy:

      Thank you for the kind words. I am delighted now with the idea of having my father cremated. It does take a while to understand why they choose the method they do, but now, having the ability to take him with us as we go to Hilton Head, his favorite vacation spot, makes the decision more sensible and wise. My father was always a wise man and this was no exception. I will tell you, it can be hard when you first open up the urn and look at what is called ashes. They are not “ashes” like you think of as being “ashes”. There are bone fragments and what looks like cement powder in the “ashes” – it was hard to look at and I am glad my Mom and I were there together to help each other through it.

      Stephanie

      Reply

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