On the day of Roger’s funeral, when the service was over and we were in the sunny garden of the hotel where we held his wake, Sam, Florence and their cousin Ava let go of a balloon each in his memory. Those balloons were a symbol for our children that they were giving something to their dad, that they could still reach him and that he was out there, looking after them somewhere and somehow.
I wrote at the time – last August – that I hoped we could make it a regular thing, a ceremony for the kids to send a balloon up to dad on special occasions like Christmas and on his birthday.
A few days before Christmas we bought some red helium balloons and made our way down to the beach near our house. It was a gorgeous bright, crisp winter’s day but as usual for our part of the world, it was windy! So windy that the balloons kept blowing in front of Sam and Flo’s faces while I tried to take their photo, and in front of mine too when I tried to get into shot.
I took my new tripod down and set it up on the sand at Red Rocks but even that blew over a couple of times, the wind was so strong. Still, it was a lovely calm moment with just the three of us, where we could hole our balloons up high and say ‘Happy Christmas Daddy, these are for you!’ before setting them free above our heads.
It’s really such a happy thing to do and feels like a special little ritual for us all. Their faces when the balloons flew away were a picture, and there really is no better place to be to do this than down on this section of quiet, beautiful beach.
As for the rock carving, well I didn’t do it but it’s nearly a match for Rog, don’t you think?