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Letters to Nowhere

Sunday, March 27, 2005

The best laid plans

Sometimes things just don't work out like you expect them too.

Today is Sunday, Easter, and my recently deceased brother's birthday. It's been OK. We all miss him, but life does go on.

Once I finally got the kid on Friday we went to mom's. He stayed the night, uneventfully. Saturday I went to pick him, while I was there mom hit me with the doozie. "Will you help me separate John's ashes so we can spread them tomorrow?"

Oh wow, I wasn't expecting that. They were still in the box the crematorium had shipped them to us in. Neither of us knew what to expect when we opened that box. Mom delegated that duty to me.

We sat across from each other and I started to pull the packing tape off. I was nervous. Very nervous. Inside the box was a glass decanter like you sometimes see jar candles in. Inside that was a baggie twist tied shut. Inside that was my brothers ashes.

There was a small laminated card from the crematorium showing the "certificate of cremation". Mom and I looked at that for a long time. I think we were trying to put off the inevitable "handling" of the ashes. They weren't what I expected either. I don't really know what I thought would be in there. But, that wasn't it.

It looked like plaster of paris. It was buff colored, and compacted, almost like.. well almost like a compact. Mom held the smaller bags open while I spooned portions of ash into them. My hands were shaking at first and some spilled onto the table. Mom and I said it together "I'm sorry John". I think we were both lost in various memories, we were doing our best to honor him.

When we were done, then the tears came. We agreed it wasn't as hard as we thought it was going to be. Opening the box was the hardest part.


  • Why did you need to separate them into separate bags in the first place? Maybe I missed something. Where did your mom decide to spread his ashes?

    Glad your mom had you there with her to help complete this task.

    Take care hun - Sue/www.derbygirl.blogdrive.com

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:22 AM  

  • I was wanting to cremate my Daddy, the family was completely against it. I can't imagine all the emotions you were dealing with. Honestly, I'm not sure I could've handled it now! God Bless you! Take care.

    By Blogger Love, at 9:58 PM  

  • You're very brave to be able to write about this. Take care of you.

    By Blogger GratisGab, at 2:45 PM  

  • I cremated my dad and grandfather both.

    Not together, seperately.


    Anyways. I know that the one thing that really struck me was how heavy the ashes were. My dad was 5'10 or so and about 230 pounds tops. I know that he wasn't gonna be 230 pounds, but I wasn't expecting the ashes to weigh what they did neither (rough guess and crap memory...about 35 pounds or so).

    I can so see you saying "Sorry John". Not to sound sick or morbid, but I did chuckle at that. I think he would have too.

    You did good hon. The first step is always the hardest.

    By Blogger Shannon, at 3:44 PM  

  • that's so sad, but maybe it will help you all now its done? take care

    By Anonymous mellowyellow, at 5:40 AM  

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