Madrid, Spain (3rd location)

On November 23rd, 2018, a former coworker of my dad’s spread some of his ashes at a beautiful park in Madrid. She found a tree on the edge of a lake, and spread some of his ashes underneath. This was his first international destination.

Bonus Spain facts:

• 58 million tourists go to Spain every year, making it the fourth most visited country in the world.

• More than 150,000 tomatoes are usually thrown at La Tomatina.

• 43% of the world’s olive oil production is done in Spain.

• The tooth fairy is a mere rodent in Spain, referred to as Ratoncito Pérez.

• Spaniards celebrate the New Year by eating one grape with their family for each bell strike of the clock.

Madrid is in the physical center of the country and the plaza Puerta del Sol is the exact center of the country.

No rhyme or reason

Grief is such a strange and random process. I feel like there is no rhyme or reason. There are events or days that I try to prepare myself for just to find that I was ok, but then out of nowhere I get hit with a memory or a flashback, and I feel a crippling weight of sadness and despair. Examples, Father’s Day. I was preparing for an excruciating day, but I did ok. I remembered and honored him, but felt as good as I could. But then yesterday, as I’m watching 4th of July fireworks, I got so sad. Which doesn’t make and sense. I can’t remember the last time I watched them with my dad, or the last time we even did anything for the 4th. Just the thought that I never will be able to watch them together has me in tears as I’m writing this. This is absolutely exhausting.

I know that my life will never be like it was, and I will feel this hole in my heart. I know that I will eventually find my new normal some day, but it just seems so impossible right now. I’m tired of the anger, the pain, the jealousy of others, the triggers, but mostly I’m tired of feeling so lost and helpless.

Sorry for the mini rant, but somedays it just all feels so endless, lonely, and overwhelming. I am hoping to feel good enough this weekend to write about more of his adventures 🤞🏻

Dad, I love and miss you so much, but mostly I’m thankful that you are no longer in pain and that you are now at peace. I love you to the moon and back.

Los Osos, CA (2nd location)

On November 16th, my cousin (my dad’s nephew) spread some ashes on my Uncle’s grave in Los Osos, CA. My uncle was 25 years older than my dad, so my dad’s niece and nephew were more like cousins growing up. They both were only a few years younger than my dad.

In December 2017, my uncle ended up in the hospital and then back home in hospice care. My dad was able to fly down and spend a few days with him before he passed away in January 2018 at the age of 96. It was so important and nice for my dad to get down there. The last time they saw each other was back in June of 2006.

It was important to me that some ashes get spread on my uncle’s grave, because I wanted the brothers to be together for always.

My uncle and my dad in ’47 or ’48. This is my favorite picture of the two of them

* A little info about Los Osos, CA :

• Los Osos is located along the Pacific coast of San Luis Obispo County, California.

* Notable people:

Edmonds, WA (1st location)

On November 10th, 2018 we hosted my dad’s Celebration of Life at Anthony’s in Edmonds Wa. It turned out so much better than expected. We had a great turn out of friends and family, and got to meet so many of my dad’s wonderful coworkers from Rick Steve’s Europe.

We ate. We drank. We shared our love for him. We also got to tell/listen to funny stories and see great pictures of my dad. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

After the celebration ended, close friends and family gathered on a pier in the marina so that my sister and I could spread a small vile of his ashes. He loved being by the water, the boats, and with his loved ones, so it was perfect. He also would have been so happy about the temp…cold 😁

His celebration of life :

– I brought in my digital frame and played pictures from when the two of us went to Paris in 2016 (his last trip).

-My brother-in-law worked so hard on a beautiful slide show that played on a tv in the corner of the room

-My mom did a great job putting together some picture collages that we had around the room

-My sister did an amazing job on programs, bookmarks, and arranging the location and catering

The view from where we spread his ashes

The purpose…

So the main purpose of doing this blog is to share all the amazing places my dad’s ashes are going. I have been posting basic information on the Facebook group is started for him (Where in the World is Jon L Johnson?), but I want to go into more detail, tell stories, give history/information about the different locations and so on.

Over the last 8 months since his death, I have felt so lost. I find myself losing interest in things I loved before, and often very easily distracted. The only thing that I’ve really been able to get excited about and can look forward to, is seeing all the places his ashes are traveling to. So many amazing people have been helping spread his ashes on their trips, and I can’t even begin to put into words how much that means to me. The fact that they are taking the time to find a beautiful location and spread his ashes to honor him is so heartwarming. To see the influence he’s had on so many people is amazing.

The other thing that I have had to look forward to is the very special trip that my sister and I are planning for the one year anniversary of his passing in October. We will be going to his favorite place in the world and doing his favorite things. We will be traveling to Paris and staying in his favorite neighborhood, eating his favorite foods (minus escargot lol), and doing his favorite activity…watching the people of the city.

Thank you to everyone who has and continues to honor my dad and help him make it all over the world!

First Father’s Day

I went to bed last night with a stomach ache knowing that today was the first time I couldn’t talk to or see my dad for Father’s Day. So far, it hasn’t been as emotional or as hard as I thought it would be, but I have a feeling that might change tonight.

When I was 12, I asked my dad (and mom) if we go to see a professional musical. My mom was active with the local community theater, but I wanted to see a big show. On April 6, 1996, we went to see our first pro show in Denver, CO, and from the first note we were hooked. 23 years later, we have seen roughly 150 shows (both new and repeat performances). This year would have also been our 12th year as season ticket holders at The 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle, Wa. Tonight will be one of the first Father’s Days that we didn’t go to a performance together. Luckily my best friend is coming with me tonight to see The West Side Story, so that I don’t have to go alone.

A major thing that I have noticed dealing with my grief over the last 8 months, is that it is so unpredictable. I was able to get through first holidays, birthdays, and the 6th month mark so much better than I thought, but then will burst into tears or have panic attacks over the smallest thing. I don’t know if more people are like that, but the biggest thing I’ve learned is that I need to allow myself to grieve however I grieve. I need to be patient and kind to myself. That is the hardest part.

I think one reason today hasn’t been as hard hard as expected (so far) is because I think back to last Father’s Day, and remember how much he was starting to suffer. He was in constant pain and nauseous from the esophageal stent that had been placed. He couldn’t sleep laying down anymore because of risk of aspirating, he was losing muscle and strength really fast, and we found out that day that he was sensitive to Ativan/Lorazepam. He was confused, slurring, and had slow reactions to things. We ended up taking him to the ER incase he’d had a stroke. They gave him more Ativan before tests because he was claustrophobic, and that’s when he started hallucinating. That was the start of his rapid decline. He died less than 4 months later. Maybe today, and the other holidays aren’t as hard as I expected because he is no longer suffering. I would take all the pain, grief, and anger 1000 times, if it meant he wasn’t suffering for a minute more.

My dad was an amazing father. He was funny, smart, sarcastic, supportive, kind, so easy to be myself around, forgiving, understanding, a major pain in the ass, and my best friend. I am so thankful that he was my father and he was a huge part in making me who I am today.

I love you to the moon and back Dad, and I miss you with every breath.