A week or so ago, I went over to the funeral home to pick up Connie’s ashes and get her death certificate. The funeral director, a lovely young lady named Amanda, had been wonderful throughout this whole grisly process — dealing with the hospital, the doctors and the state of Texas as part of their service.
Once all the talking was done, I said to the container of ashes, “Come on, sweetheart; let me take you home.” Whereupon Amanda gave a little sob, and ran out of the room.
All the way home, I talked to Connie’s ashes, telling her what I’d been doing in her absence, how the kids were doing, and in general keeping her up to date an everything that had happened since she died.
I’ve always wondered at people who kept Mom’s ashes in an urn on the mantle like some sad reminder or token. Of course, it’s been a staple of black humor in stage productions and movies (the scattering of the ashes scene in The Big Lebowski comes to mind), and yes, it’s all good fun, but silly.
I don’t think it’s so silly anymore. Actually, it’s kind of peaceful and reassuring to have them around even though, let’s be honest, they’re ashes.
She’s not going to stay here, though. In fact, later in the year she’s going to be laid to rest in a long barrow in Wiltshire, built on the farm which belongs to an old family friend (pictured in the article). The irony is strong: Connie was always severely claustrophobic, but as another friend said, “She’ll get over it. Besides, she’s going to be among friends, now.”
What I do know is that Connie loved the place; she called it “home”, and when we visited the farm, she would sit for hours at the kitchen window looking out over the Vale of Pewsey. When I asked her what she was doing, she replied, “Looking at one of Constable’s paintings,” because that’s exactly what it looked like. Here’s what she was talking about:
It is even more beautiful than the photo suggests. And when it’s my time to go, guess where my ashes will end up? Yup… right next to hers.
Together again at last. And I’m not claustrophobic.