Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Where Eagles Fly

Many of you sent kind thoughts before I left for Seattle, and I want to thank you for your words and your support. My brother Dan passed away last September, and, though we had a memorial service here, he had requested that his ashes be scattered at sea. It took us awhile to coordinate that, but, thanks to his friends in the Seattle area, we were finally able to fulfill his wishes on Friday evening.
Dan’s love-for-a-lifetime Andrea had arranged with two boat captains to pick us up from the dock at her home on Bainbridge Island. My sister, my brother and his wife, myself and a few of Dan’s lifelong friends climbed aboard the boats and headed out onto the water. It was a gorgeous evening with still warm sun and calm waters.
Just as I heard the captains saying they’d found a spot, I saw a bald eagle leave his perch atop a tall pine on the island and fly across the water in front of the boats. We were all stunned. I’ve never seen a bald eagle in the wild before. It was late evening; the bird should have been roosting. But it simply took what seemed to be one more flight for the day, winging its way across the sky, then returning to the same tree.
By then the captains had powered down their boats and tied up together. We drank a toast to Dan—Irish whiskey, of course—then sang a long sad rendition of “Danny Boy.” Very few words were spoken as his ashes were given over to the sea and flowers were cast upon the spot. Quietly we watched them drift atop gentle swells.

The captains powered up the boats, and as we began to move slowly away, the same eagle left his perch one last time, flying across the water once more, this time behind us, as if to bid us farewell.
Rest in peace where you so loved to be, wild boy… beloved brother…. Thanks for reminding us that you have gone where eagles fly.


  1. Oh Kay, there are no words for this. Flowers floating as eagles fly. Pain, beauty, peace? I hope so.
    Laura H

  2. Very beautifully put, Mom.

    "Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
    From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
    The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying
    'Tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.
    But come ye back when summer's in the meadow
    Or when the valley's hushed and white with snow
    'Tis I'll be here in sunshine or in shadow
    Oh Danny boy, oh Danny boy, I love you so.

    And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
    And I am dead, as dead I well may be
    You'll come and find the place where I am lying
    And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me.

    And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
    And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
    If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me
    I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me.

    I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me."