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I just got back from a 10 day trip to New England and back with my mom and S. As part of our trip, Mom and I decided that we were going to scatter some of my dad’s ashes in the same waters that we had scattered his parents in. My aunt and uncle and cousin (and her family) all live in Hyannis Port, MA just down the street from the pier, so we asked them to join us.

They didn’t currently have any boats in the water, so we just headed down to the end of the pier with our little baggie o’ Dad. My aunt had very sweetly picked up some roses so that we could sprinkle petals, too, and I love that she chose red – vibrant and cheerful like my dad had been.

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We said a few words about who he had been, and I was blown away by something my uncle said. He said that, growing up, he had viewed the world as kind of a hostile place, and he’d battled through it accordingly. He said that it wasn’t until a few years ago that he’d realized what an act of courage it had been for my dad to remain so kind and loving. It was an excellent reminder to me that I want to be brave like that; to forgive the world for its cruelties and look for the joy and hope where it can be found. There’s so much beauty calling to us if we just pay attention. The trail of ashes and flowers washing away from us was so appropriate: life’s most painful and beautiful experiences mixing and mingling and leading us forward.

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After we scattered some ashes at the pier, we walked down to the breakwater where we used to hide pennies when I was a kid. My mom and dad and I would walk as far down as we could manage over the haphazardly strewn rocks to hide the pennies, and when we’d return the next year, we’d hunt for the ones we’d left the year before in the unlikely event that they hadn’t been washed away by storms. And then we’d leave some more pennies in hopes that we’d either find them next year or give an unexpected surprise to fellow beach goers.

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We sprinkled a few more ashes there, and hid a few more pennies, and, again, it reminded me to look for the unexpected joys hiding in plain sight.

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Life will throw all kinds of obstacles our way. It’s our job to scramble over them and hunt for the little miracles tucked away, then leave some reminders for the people that follow behind us.

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Dad, I wish you were still here so I could tell you that I’m paying attention and choosing to look for the light. #penniesfornick

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