Rob Stern | Letting go

When my father passed away I lost my best friend. It was unexpected and sudden and let a painful void in my life. I wasn't sure how to deal with it but he always told me to release his ashes over the sand dune in front of our life long beach house. I couldn't come to let him go so I buried them in the Glass Heart in the dune. After a long while I finally came to terms with letting him go and launched the heart with large weather balloons up to heaven. He and I are at peace now.

Als mein Vater starb, verlor ich meinen besten Freund. Es kam unerwartet und plötzlich und hinterließ eine schmerzhafte Lücke in meinem Leben. Ich war mir nicht sicher, wie ich damit umgehen sollte, aber er sagte mir immer, ich solle seine Asche auf der Sanddüne vor unserem Haus am Strand verstreuen. Ich konnte ihn nicht gehen lassen, also vergrub ich sie im Glasherz in der Düne. Nach langer Zeit konnte ich mich endlich damit abfinden, ihn gehen zu lassen, und ließ das Herz mit großen Wetterballons in den Himmel steigen. Er und ich sind jetzt in Frieden.

all rights by Rob Stern |

It has been a long and difficult process for me to get me to the point where I was ready to send the heart with my thoughts and my father's ashes up to the heavens. I guess I just didn't want to let him go because having his remains around gave me a sense that he was, somehow, still here with me.

My involvement in this wonderful art project finally sparked the idea and gave me the courage I needed to let go. I could think of no better place to send off his ashes into the wondrous sky than our beloved Topsail Island beach, where we shared so many memories and experiences and where our family reunion has taken place for the last 60 years.

I realize now, that regardless of where his remains are, I will always carry with me the experiences we shared and the memories of our relationship here on earth and will think of him each time I see the International Space Station pass by which was something we followed together.  

My father, Bruce, and I had a unique relationship. As his only child, I became his “little buddy” from the time I could walk and talk. I think I may have come along as a surprise to him when, at only twenty years of age, he was already embarking on a path of rebellion.  

You see my dad was always an adventurer, a fun-seeker and all-around party guy ... which he certainly passed on to me. I'm pretty sure that my untimely arrival, forcing him to assume some responsibility, was a bit of a buzzkill. And although I have endearing photos of him holding me as a baby, it was only about a year or so after I was born when he jumped ship and left my mother. From then on, he always picked me up a whisked me away for his weekend adventures which were in stark contrast to the discipline my mother was trying to instill at home.

For 45 years my dad and I had one big party, full of fun adventures, many of which brought us back to his beloved Topsail Island beach. These experiences were filled with music, a love of nature, and a deep sense of wonderment about things here on earth and beyond.

He was a talented man, very worldly and sensitive, a sportsman, an amazing photographer, and could light up any room with his sense of humor and personality.  

Working in the motion pictures industry, he essentially lived his life as if it were a film. Always with a line from a classic picture to sum up any situation or perhaps deal with his issues as an alcoholic and ladies' man.

Ours was a turbulent relationship but one that brought with it a lot of excitement, memories, and laughs. We joked about everything, spoke every day and, in his own way, he showed me so much and passed his talents on to me.

I have struggled for quite some time with the sudden silence in my life after losing him suddenly from a heart attack without a chance to say goodbye.

When my good friend Simone sent me this heart and invited me to participate in this thoughtful project I jumped at the opportunity. After milling through numerous ideas, it occurred to me to confront this void and exercise these strong emotions. The irony of sending his ashes up to heaven in this beautiful vessel, a heart of glass, both strong and fragile like his, was the opportunity to send him off to the stars he always told me to gaze upon and reach for. 

I miss you dad. RIP

In the

I miss you Dad.