Jimi Hendrix Experience – Castles Made Of Sand
This past Saturday was a bittersweet day of closure, but also one of the most life-affirming days of my life. I’ve actually needed a few days to process what actually happened. It was time to say goodbye to my brother. My wife, Sarah, mother-in-law, Margie, auntie-in-law, Rocio, and I drove down to Newport Beach to spread Craig’s ashes in the Pacific Ocean, about a mile of Balboa Island. He was such a beach guy and it was such a beautiful day, it was the only option. I’d organized an event with family, friends, and work all represented, so I felt like I had all the bases covered.
On the ship were my stepmom, Diana, her son, Kevin, and her daughter, Colleen. My cousin Robin came out from Vegas with his Big Bear girlfriend, Laura. He and Diana were repping my dad’s side of the family. My buddy, Bill, came with his girlfriend Miko, and her adorable kids, Gavin and Fiona. I think they were here for me as much as Craig. Four of my brother’s co-workers from Target came out, bearing three cards full, front to back, with sympathy notes. One card wasn’t enough. Also, 7-8 of his friends from Perqs Bar, including his former roommate, Melody, and the bar’s manager, Tim, were in attendance. Perqs is where he’d been a regular since the mid-’90s, even though he’d been sober for the last decade-plus. Hey, that was where his friends were and TVs showed Lakers and Raiders games, so that’s where Craig went. He was nothing if not loyal. I was stoked they came out to show their support.
When I said that I felt like I had all the bases covered, I had no idea what I was talking about. Unbeknownst to me, my cousin, Mark, and his wife, Cindy, with whom Craig and I had been tight for 35+ years, had organized an impromptu Uehara family reunion. That’s my mom’s side of the family and I swear I hadn’t seen my uncle Ray and aunt Kay, or their daughter, Tina, and husband, Lance, for over 20 years. Their son, Alan, I ran into last year, but his wife, Julie, I also hadn’t seen since around the same time. Same with my cousin, Todd, and his wife, Stella, and his sister, Donna, and her daughter, Diana. I have to go back to the the mid-’90s the last time me and Craig and all of them hung out. But, the biggest surprise of all was seeing my eldest cousin, Dennis, who I think I hadn’t seen since I was 7 years old. SEVEN! He flew in from Chicago just for the service. I was and continue to be blown away by the response. The Ueharas really stepped up for Craig and I can unequivocally say that my mom — hell, all of the parents, most of whom are no longer here — are smiling down at us. Kiyomi Uehara Robinson, you were missed, cuz!
To everyone, I can’t be more grateful for you coming out and paying your respects. Love you guys. I do think it’s worth mentioning that per my instructions, we poured Craig’s ashes into a strikingly blue Pacific Ocean as “Castles Made Of Sand” played over the ship’s sound system. I was blown away that the ashes held form for a long time, so as we slowly circled, the cocoon of ashes slowly descended as a single, amorphous unit. I’ll never forget that. It was sad to say goodbye, but I couldn’t imagine a better, more appropriate way to say goodbye to someone you love.
See you on the otherside, Craig. Love ya man!