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Home  /  BC Crothers 

Mar 14, 2024

This morning, three neighbors, Bernie, Art, and Tony, will accompany me to the Gulf as my husband’s ashes receive their resting place. Jack’s wishes are being carried out, and I am thankful for his friends' support.

Marrying young, Jack and I shared decades. When we were bad together, it was like experiencing the fires below; and when we were good together, we shared feelings of Heaven on Earth. But most days were Ordinary, peaceful, and busy, sharing and enjoying. It is only his ending that crushes my heart.

In April 2023, Jack had an accident at work where a break in his left leg femur occurred. Workers Compensation took over his care, and what followed was months of therapy, as complications kept occurring. On Dec. 2nd, I found Jack floating face down in the pool. When I turned him over, his eyes were blank, and he was not breathing. Machines brought beats back to his heart, but the rest of his body was gone. Everyone who worked on him said Jack did not die by drowning, the paramedics, emergency room doctors, ICU personnel. I explained this to the Medical Examiner when he called, but he said no, Jack died by drowning, but maybe the autopsy would show a secondary cause. I replied he would find Jack suffered a heart attack. He then asked which funeral home should receive Jack’s body. And here I made a mistake, one that changed my future forever. I told him Jack was to be cremated. The Medical Examiner never performed the autopsy, declaring Jack died by accident of drowning the day of our phone conversation on Dec. 4th. If he had, Jack’s estate might have received compensation for the accident that happened on a work machine that had a reputation (unknown to Jack but known to at least three of his coworkers) of breaking down. This action became particularly destructive since Jack had no life insurance.

You really cannot fight city hall. At least, I could not successfully do so. Now I fight to save my home and get back to the business of living life. Helpful friends, and advice from realtors, bankers, and others are showing me how to navigate this confusing path.

Closure was helped tremendously by our US Coast Guard. Our local base opens its gates for a Committal of the Ashes at Sea service. The photos show its activities as the coastguard men, Ryan, Cade, and Barrett, led the way into a memorable day. After being helped into the heavy safety jackets, we boarded. The waters were white-capped, a little high, and certainly not friendly. The way Ryan handled the boat across these waves filled the inside of the craft with laughter, a most unexpected outburst when considering why we were on board. That laughter helped everyone relax and, before long, we were talking, sharing stories, and learning some of the history of the sights we were viewing.

Somehow, in the water's roughness, Skipper Ryan found a quieter area for the service. With one of your men holding on to my lifejacket strap, I stood at the railing and disposed of the ashes while reciting the service for the Committal of the Ashes at Sea. Art played Taps, making the moment even more special.

The return trip was certainly unusual, with more laughter as Bernie and Tony took over the “joystick” control. Boaters both, they so enjoyed having this opportunity.

There were no tears throughout this trip. The sailors provided a respectful environment where past and present coincided, bringing in its wake a peaceful resolution to a painful and sad situation. Four people will never forget the gift given us this day by three men who provided an opportunity for us to pay our respects. My husband would have been truly pleased with his ending.

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